Unconditional

      In this post I want to share with you about the word unconditional. When you hear the word, take a moment and think about what it truly means to you. What are the first thoughts that come to your mind. Are there memories attached to what the meaning of that word is to you. Maybe you think about significant people in your life that you believe love you unconditionally. As I was studying and preparing to write this post I did some research on this word and one of the definitions I found was,”Not subject to any conditions”. This is the kind of love we all long for. This is the kind of love we all thrive in. It means we’re safe to be who we are. It means that we are loved and we never have to earn it. It means we can rest in this love. This love is not bargaining with us. We don’t have to perform for it. It just is. This love surrounds us and fills our hearts to overflowing. This is the love that carried Jesus to the cross. Jesus has no regrets about loving us. He definitely is not sitting in heaven thinking, “Look at them, I wish I didn’t love them as much as I do”. I truly believe he looks at us and no matter where we are, he longs for us to experience the in-depth overwhelming beauty and strength found in his unconditional love.

This image may be difficult for you to look at. I completely understand the deep desire to turn away. You might actually feel a little angry at me for sharing it. You might even disagree but I started this blog to share what is true to me. This is unconditional love in a picture. It’s a image created by human hands based upon scripture and the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Oftentimes this image has been used along with others to manipulate others coming to Jesus. I want you to look at this image and  behold his unconditional love for you. I want you to behold his sacrifice for your freedom. That means you do not have to live in bondage to anything. Jesus did not die to impress you. Jesus did not die to manipulate you but he died to offer you unconditional love. Did you know that you and every human that ever existed was the joy that was set before him as he endured the cross. I believe that Jesus stayed on the cross because our life was that important to him. I believe our creation mattered that much to him.
It was his love that was the driving force behind his unconditional sacrifice. I cannot think of any greater love than this.  The beauty of this love is, you did not do anything to earn it and you cannot do anything to stop it. The love of Jesus reaches us no matter the place, no matter the person, no matter the circumstances or situation, the love of Jesus still reaches us. The thing is though, it is there but you have to allow yourself to let it in. When we have been hurt we tend to struggle with letting ourselves experience the fullness of Jesus love for us. When we have lived a life that we feel ashamed of, we struggle with believing that Jesus or anyone else could truly love us. See, that’s the thing, his love has no conditions. There are no auditions to receive his love. The love of Jesus just is. I’m so grateful he is not looking at all of our sins or looking at all the countless times we have rejected his love, none of that matters to him. Jesus just wants to love you into a real relationship with him. I’m thinking about when I first began to date my husband, the more I talked to him, the more I got to know him, the more I loved him. The more I spent time with him, the more time I wanted to spend with him. The more we fell in love with one another, the more we realized that we wanted to spend our lives together and that led to the covenant of marriage. This is exactly how it feels with the love of Jesus. Will you step into his love this Resurrection season?

So, in my closing I want to share with you how I came to believe in his love for me. I struggled with believing Jesus truly loved me for the greater part of my younger life. I thought that things that happened to me beyond my control left a stain on me. I thought all Jesus saw when he looked at me was that dirty stain and he moved me into the category of people he could no longer love. I thought if I went to church enough, read my Bible enough and did all the right things that I could finally feel his love. Over 20 years ago, I got to go to a huge women’s conference. Everything that happened that weekend was so Jesus could finally help me understand that he has always loved me. From every song and every word spoken that weekend it felt like all the lies about his love for me began to wash away. Even a hotel situation where we had booked rooms and they upgraded us to another hotel that was a five star hotel. I felt like a princess and all along Jesus was in the background pulling all the strings to help me step into his unconditional love. I had been living for Jesus but not living through Jesus. I walked down the isle and gave him my heart but I would not allow his love in because I had believed the lie that I was stained. That night we went to a play and I cried all throughout that play. I had been crying all day as I began to realize Jesus always loved me. I was created because of his love. I remember leaving that play with all those people and I stepped outside and it was raining. As we waited for them to bring the van for us, I began to lift my hands in worship. On that night his love overwhelmed me. I stepped into the rain and began to just rejoice, it didn’t feel like rain, it felt like showers of his love pouring over me. The love I felt that night, I have experienced over and over. I finally stopped believing the lie and started embracing the truth of his love for me. I’ve never struggled with his love for me again. Now the devil has tried to bring it up and tried telling me those lies again and because of the overwhelming love of Jesus I’ve put those lies right back on himūüíö.

Maybe you have been believing lies about the love of Jesus for you. Maybe you have done things that you feel have separated you from the love of Jesus. I want you to know anything telling you that you don’t deserve his love is a LIAR. Not only are you deserving of his love, you are worthy of his love. This Holiday season, I pray that you experience his love in such a way that you never doubt it again. I pray that his love tares down every wall, every boundary, every lie and it runs into your heart like a huge wave from the sea. I pray he gushes his love all over your life, washing away every mistake and all the regrets. I pray you finally stop fighting his love and just let go. Let him love you dear heart. Let him love you into relationship with him. I’m praying for you. Happy Resurrection Weekend.

Father I pray for the one reading this blog that they will be overwhelmed as they step into a real love relationship with you. Father we thank you for what you did on the cross for us. We thank you for loving us even when we struggle with loving ourselves. God help us to know your love and to shower others with your love. Amen

Worthiness is not Earned

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I think at times in our lives, we all struggle with feeling unworthy of good things. I want to pose a question for you to think about,”What is that thing that happened to cause you to feel as if you have to earn your worth?”. You have spent your life trying to earn something that you never had to earn. I know that things can happen to us or we can do things and because of that we believe the lie that were no longer worthy of the good plans God has for us. Let me whisper in your ear, “You were born worthy”. Guess what, not only were you born worthy, nothing you do makes you unworthy. When we struggle with believing that our worthiness is earned, we thrive in the praises from others. We desperately feel like their words validate us. You might not know this but only God created us and I truly believe the one that created us is the one who validates us.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I found myself living in the praises of others. I wanted to feel like I was worthy, and I believed the lie that their words and acceptance of me made me worthy.¬† We don’t have to live up to the standards of others to be worthy. You don’t have to fit into a certain crowd to be worthy. Just maybe the crowd you’re trying to fit yourself in is honestly not worthy of you. Their rejection of you might be the greatest blessing of your life.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oh, the tears I’ve cried feeling like I didn’t belong in a certain group. I am slowly but surely learning that I will not fit into every space, and that is ok. Every circle is not a circle I have to belong.¬† I want you to know that any group, circle or community you have to change to fit in, YOU do not belong in it. Performing does not make you worthy. The uniqueness that you were created in is what makes you worthy. I believe the courage to walk into spaces and be you makes you worthy. Who you really are is worthy of love, respect, and connection. You deserve all the good things God has for you and you are worthy of each and every one of them.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† When I lived with the lie that I had to earn my worthiness, I found myself pretending to be who I thought I needed to be in order to fit in different spaces. What I realized was that I was really miserable when I left those spaces. My anxiety was through the roof and I felt empty. I felt empty because who I really was I was spending unnecessary energy burying as I pretended to be someone I really wasn’t. I could¬† never earn worthiness because what I didn’t know was that worthiness did not need to be earned. No matter how much I tried to be different, that was not making me feel worthy. I believe where I picked up that feeling that I wasn’t worthy was in my childhood. As a little girl, I walked through a lot of trauma and some of the things I endured made me feel unworthy. I didn’t feel worthy of love. I struggled with feeling like I could ever be enough. I had low self-esteem and very little courage. Those childhood experience felt as if they wrote the message of unworthiness on my heart. As an adult I continued to struggle with feeling worthy. I’ve gotten better, but every now and then those feelings of unworthiness try to creep in. I have to immediately remind myself that I was born worthy of every good thing God has for me.¬† I notice that when I forget who I am in Christ, I start feeling unworthy. When we embrace who God made us to be, we embrace the truth that we were born worthy.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
¬†¬†¬†¬†you¬†knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.  Psalms 139:13-14 English Standard version (ESV)

      Above is one of my favorite passage of scripture. It reminds me that God formed every part of me, even my inward parts. God knitted me and you together in our mothers womb. This helps me rest in the truth that I am worthy. God created and formed every part of me and I am priceless. God formed every part of you and YOU are priceless.  Nobody can diminish your worth in Jesus, not any words spoken to you or over you can change the truth that you my friend are worthy.   10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) you were born according to scripture for good works. To be honest though, those good works did not make you worthy, Christ made you worthy.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This post was to remind you that your worthiness is not earned, but you were worthy from the beginning. You can stop striving for worthiness and start resting in the truth, that you are worthy. I pray that you will embrace this truth and live from the place of worthiness which is where you always belong. Thank you for taking time to read my words. I’m honored and grateful for each of you.

     

A Gift

Gifts are so special. When carefully thought through and chosen for a specific person for a specific reason, gifts have a way of bringing joy and love to the person receiving the gift and the person giving it as well. Jesus was given as a gift to this world but not only is Jesus a gift, you my friend are a gift as well. I wanted to remind you that there is a gift inside of you, but I also wanted you to know that you are a gift. You bring such joy and love to the lives of those who embrace you as the gift you truly are. In preparation of the holiday season, I wanted to write to you about, “The Gift”. The gift that God created you to be to the world. Just like these beautifully wrapped gifts so are you. Your outside beauty is the wrapping paper but inside is the gift that was strategically placed inside of you to be used to bless the lives your life was created to bless. Jesus didn’t just throw your life together, but he carefully placed every detail of your life in its place. There was no mistake in him creating you. You were not a afterthought, you were his first thought. Jesus’ planned and orchestrated your life so that the gift in you and the gift of you could serve this earth well. Jesus did not think twice about creating you, you were always on his mind to create, and give a gift that would impact the world.
I often wonder why we hide our gifts and live in fear of using them. Honestly, even if we don’t admit that the thing, we do so well is actually a gift does not mean that it isn’t. I know I’ve tried to hide what I’m gifted to do sometimes because I don’t want the pressure to do it. I felt like once people knew I was gifted to do a particular thing they would put unnecessary pressure on me to use it. Even though God placed the gift in me, I still struggle with him using that gift. Most of the time it’s the gift within us that makes us THE gift. I truly believe that God carefully chooses the gifts he gives to us and the way he uses them, and I would even say, he chooses even those he will use to bless by our gifts. So, as we are quickly facing the Holidays, I thought it would be good to remind you of the gift that you are. I wanted to remind you just how much you are needed in this world. We can so quickly get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Holidays especially the unspoken pressure we typically feel to buy those we love that perfect gift. I want to offer to you a suggestion; take a moment between now and Christmas day and make a list of your loved ones and write beside each of their names the gift they are to you. Maybe even take inventory over the things in your life that you do that you believe that God placed in you as a gift to bless others. Maybe consider ways that you have allowed God to use you and that gift to impact the world. I want to challenge you to seek God for more opportunities in the year to use that gift to be an even greater blessing to him and others.

We also can find ourselves struggling with the Holidays. We face our own mental health struggles with emotions that run high and at times find ourselves feeling out of control when those emotions feel really big and overwhelming. I want you to know that you are not alone in those feelings. There are so many people in this world that struggle with believing that anything about themselves could ever be considered a gift. It is difficult for them to see beyond the words that people have spoken to them or over them causing them to see themselves as nothing and nobody important. If you are feeling that way, I want you to know that you are an important gift and you have been given an important gift. You are needed and wanted. Embrace the truth tonight, that you are a gift.
I want you to take a moment, close your eyes and think about the best gift that you have ever received in your life. I want you to think about the way it made you feel. I want you to think about how you felt about the person who gave it to you. I’m wondering was it wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper or put in a beautiful gift bag with all the pretty tissue paper. Did you feel like the person took precious time to pick this beautiful, special gift just for you. Now, I want to offer you a gift more precious than any gift you have ever received. In this gift is everything you need for your life. In this gift, you will be lavished with unconditional love. This gift is full of peace. Guess what though? It’s not just any old peace, it is a peace that will surpass all of your human understanding. In this gift, is life everlasting. This gift will be right with you in every single season of your life. The gift I want to offer you this Christmas, is the gift of Jesus Christ. I know for a fact, that your life will never be the same.
So in closing this post, will you receive this free gift of unconditional love, peace , joy and beauty that is Jesus. He is the greatest gift you will ever received. We celebrate him this time of year being born on earth. I would love to celebrate him also being born in your heart. My prayer is that you will know the most precious gift that is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that he desires to rescue you from every sin that you might be struggling with. If you choose to do so, say this prayer out loud and believe in your heart and receive your greatest gift ever.

Lord Jesus, I so desperately need you in my life. I need your peace and unconditional love. Lord please forgive me of all my sins and come into my heart. Lord I invite you to walk with me, talk with me, lead and guide me. You are the greatest gift and thank you for coming into my heart. Im so excited to begin my life brand new with you. Amen