Tag Archives: repentance

In need of restoration…

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In need of restoration…

This post has been brewing for some time now.  It’s been boiled, kneaded, folded and just plain smushed in my head for a few weeks.  I have been wrestling with the Lord.  I don’t recommend this, it’s painful, confusing, painful, distracting, did I say painful?

I have a reputation among a small group for being a Jesus-freak.  That is complimentary if you don’t take is as a title.  Once you take it as a title you remove the dependence, you remove the worship, you remove the peace that comes from when it is a description.  I don’t know if I am a rarity in this area, I suspect not, but I like to think I’m doing good.  I like to think I can take the tools God’s given me and go to work.  I like to feel the approval of others.  I like when my children reflect the “godly parent” I am.  I like when I know the answer.  I like when my sacrifice pays off, especially if many see it.

Sickening…

I have recently been struggling with attaining the beautiful worship to Christ that I once was submerged in.  My quiet times have become tough.  My desire to do anything really has become tough.  I have coasted on my past worship to get me through.  And all the while thinking it must be something I’m being subjected to instead of something I was subjecting to.  Did you catch the difference?  One, I’m a victim, the other I’m a participant.

Sickening…

As a well needed bolt of reality was delivered yesterday morning through a sermon by Paul Washer on Romans 3:23, I lay on the floor weeping.  I was embarrassed, broken, sad, and convicted to my core.  “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That’s what the verse says, this is what I decided on my own somewhere down the line…ALL but Traci have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Sickening…

How did this happen?  I had become what I despised most.  I had shucked the awe of my Lord and embraced the satanistic worship of self.  I had really blew it.  And worse I set a horrible example for my children.  Oh, the wicked webs we weave…

Sickening…

The pain of this knowledge resonated through my body all day yesterday.  The broken heart bled, all day.  The layers of realization of what I had robbed my God of and the undeserved title I given myself (unconsciously but still very real) made me want to vomit.

I am effectively broken and humbled.   Yet I am sooo very thankful for a Father that would put this sermon in my path to shake me into consciousness of my sin.  I am so grateful that He did not forsake me and leave me to the path of hell I was walking.  I am still bleeding and weeping, but I am full of hope because I know He has forgiven me and is willing to help me back to the path where His light will show me the way.  His book has promised me this and because I know every word of that book is true and alive I can have full faith of His promises.

I am sharing this because I think all too often us, “Jesus-Freaks” never show the cracks, the wickedness, and the sin we wrestle with.  So many times we are lumped into some kind of super-good-but-not-like-me status.  I want to tear that wall down.  I want to blow it up and let you know I am as wicked, as selfish, as scared, as sinful, and as blaspheming as the next guy.  I can determine what everyone else sees, but what man can see isn’t always truth.  Our eyes judge by deeds, God’s eyes judge by the heart.  And thankfully so, because a broken heart, a humbled heart is something attainable.  Perfection is not.  I want to demolish the idea that Traci is somehow good, instead I want to exalt the fact that unless Jesus is acting in me, I have no good.  My deeds are filthy rags, but His deeds in me are…HIS DEEDS, that is the only good I can offer.

I spent my morning reading Psalm 51.  Picking my memory verse from that chapter and also renewing my hope in that chapter.  Crying in that chapter.  Praising in that chapter and yes, WORSHIPING in that chapter!

As a true, born-again, Christian I have hope in my ugliness, I have His power in my pain, I have His healing in my broken heart.  And I have His restoration in my soul.

“Restore the joy of Your salvation in me, and give me a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:12

Paul Washer Sermon:

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The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

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The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

Since reading a post from ‘Raising Godly Children’ about “raising little Pharisees” (an excellent post by the way), I have fallen under great conviction.  As I read it and my children matched up to the criteria of Pharisees and my parenting style matched up with the criteria of a Pharisee, I was stopped in my tracks.  I began re-assessing all kinds of things in our daily life.  I began to realize that although my intentions to fill them with the ways of the Lord, the way I was doing it was very wrong.  I had done the very thing that God has NOT done with me…made things of the law.  Not that I yelled at them all the time (but I am guilty), not that I sacrificed animals with them, not that I never show them love and not that I myself perform spiritual rituals with no true love for the Father.  I do love the Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  But I was intensely trying to force them to obey Him because I loved Him…not teaching them in a way that they would obey because they love Him.  Now I do believe that my kids love the Lord, but my harsh teaching style when it came to life lessons was probably giving them reason to doubt, AND was not creating repentance in them.  It was creating little law abiders.  Oh they love the law!  Because they are generally good kids and are able to most times fulfill it.  And heaven knows they have learned to spot those that are NOT fulfilling it. Little Pharisees.

So I have been trying to take complete inventory of what I’ve taught them and more importantly what I’ve shown them.   The way I have let Pharisee law creep into our home is by disciplining them when I was angry.  Or disciplining them more when I was frustrated because I was wanting to do something  and they were interrupting me.  Or by telling them that those that love the Lord follow His rules, so why are they not doing that?  …By rating them on their performance.  This is hard to write and was even harder to face, because I, being raised on the principal that performance is what counts was trying so hard not to let my kids learn that wicked, never relenting message.  Yet here I am almost 10 years into parenting with 2 little Pharisees.   Prided when the did right and quick to point out those that don’t.  Hearts that were hardening to the gospel because they thought, ‘We’ve got this” since they could follow the law most of the time.

I thought I was giving grace.  There are many times I didn’t give what they would deserve.  And mercy because I gave them freedom when they didn’t deserve it.  But I was so harsh when I did give them consequences, and so harsh when they failed to perform that they were learning the disease I have been fighting against in my own mind, so hard, …all my life…performance based grace.

My inability to see it makes me cry even now.  I am so blessed that God has opened my eyes while I have time to change; albeit not much.

I see it so many times in my husband and I both…we are frustrated and will pierce their hearts with how badly they performed; instead of taking the time to teach them and bring their hearts to repentance.  Sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of selfishness, sometimes out of bad insight on how to make them change, but always saying the same thing…you didn’t measure up and somethings wrong with you because of it.  Yeah somethings wrong…WITH ALL OF US!  It started with Adam and Eve and until my Lord comes for us we will all be wrong in our performance.  That why Jesus came.  How did I miss this?

My youngest daughter will probably struggle with this more because she is already inclined to self-righteousness by the fact that it is her nature to over-achieve.  So like me we can easily think ourselves to be the pride of the Father because we are performing so well.  I hate it.  I wished so badly I would have fought this ugly monster for her earlier.  I know in my own life how hard it is to fight after it’s taken hold.  This blog post is the very proof that I don’t even always see it manifesting itself.

And my poor older daughter that is inclined to laziness, possibly because I’ve made it impossible to achieve for her since her nature is not to over-achieve but to enjoy everything she sees around her.  Who has time to enjoy when there is so much to be done?  (my wretched motto)

I’m broken about this, but also encouraged that the Lord is shining light on it, telling me He has stepped in to change it.  I cannot change it.  I have failed to do the very thing that I desire the most…to give my girls a love for the Lord that surpasses anything else.  To make them realize their value is in God’s love for us, not our own accomplishments.

I love the Lord so much because He has been the only one in my life that did not expect me to perform.  He has been the only one I can remember that said, “I just want your heart, nothing more, because I love you just as you are.”   All those years I spent trying to prove I was good and worthy to be loved ended in the same place, heart-broken, frustrated and wondering where I hadn’t done enough.  A place that would send me into a heel-digging, overachiever, determined to do EVERYTHING PERFECT the next time phase.

Finally I picked up a bible and started reading it.  Finally I heard the heart of THE PERFECT ONE and finally He got it thru to me that I needn’t prove myself to Him.  Well I say “got it thru,” maybe getting it thru is a more honest statement.  Obviously I am still struggling with this performance beast.  But thankfully I have the Lord on my side now.  So when I end up in this heart-broken, frustrated, and wondering where I haven’t done enough place…I can repent, ask the Lord for help and have hope shine on me…love shine on me, just because He thinks I’m worth it.  Broken, sinful me is worth it to Him.  And so are my little Pharisees, to both of us.

Please read this with this in mind, God loves us freely.  He teaches us kindly.  Deals with us patiently.  And He values us regardless.  Do the same with your children.  And pray that God will heal me and mine.