Why the Heck Must We Wait?

warriorprincessI’ve noticed that before many major battles that took place in the Old Testament, before there was a huge shift in power, before a significant promise was fulfilled, and before God used someone to further His plans in the New Testament… there was a time of waiting.

I am not a big fan of waiting. I’m actually rather impatient. Always have been.

But what I have learned over the years of my waiting in the desert, is that this is where the learning has taken place. This long period of waiting has been my training ground, where my spirit has been working out, preparing me for what He has in store for me.

I have not enjoyed it one iota. Not a smidgen. Nothin’. Nope.

It has been dry, this desert I have been training in. Dry, and hot, and tiring. I have been sore from the workouts. I have felt the bruises, the cuts, the sting of embarrassment at my frailty. Yet I have noticed that I now wobble less after spending so much time practicing under the hot, relentless sun. The strokes of my sword have become much more second nature as I wield His truth with new-found strength and ease.

I parry every attack knowing that my Master taught me well, and I feel the confidence as I beat back my adversaries with the power He gifted me with.

There is a battle going on.

And I am not afraid.

The weapons I fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

I have found my footing. My feet are planted, shod with the completeness of Christ. I am whole, and have been given His righteousness to protect me. His truth holds me in place. My faith in Him deflects and extinguishes every shot taken at me. His salvation protects me from all the lies, from the attempts to bludgeon me, from the sneak attacks trying to take me out.

I am hated because of the One who loves me.

But the desert has produced a Warrior. My enemy trembles because it knows I am filled with the power of the Most High, and whispers “oh shit” now that I am standing at the Jordan, ready to cross over.

This land is mine. The giants before me are nothing compared to my God.

Ants.

I am either bat-shit crazy or a formidable foe, but either way, I am grateful for my time in the desert of waiting. Because the little girl who used to cower and whimper at every little push, taunt, and blow has morphed into the Warrior Princess I was created to be. It has been hard work, and I understand it will be hard in the field as well; but I am ready. I do not fight alone.

This is why the waiting is mandatory: to be equipped for the battles. To know our weapons, become so familiar with the footwork that it feels like dancing, and to understand the strategies of the enemy.

I worship the King of kings. My praise wreaks havoc in the unseen realm in ways I won’t fully understand until I am taken up with Him. 

My prayers, and my declarations of His might move mountains and dispel darkness. 

I am in Him.

He is in me.

I love with power and humility because He first loved me. It is undaunted and strong.

This is my battle cry:

May your Kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven! 

Yours is the kingdom

The power

The glory

Forever and ever

Amen

– Shev

 

My Place at the Table

imageThis morning I came face to face with how deep my sense of unworthiness has been. It shook me up a little, to be honest.

I mean, I have been undergoing significant transformation over the past 11 years, changing my mental, emotional and spiritual framework for the better. Learning what it means to be a daughter of the King; bought, sought after, loved, and enjoyed by the Three. I have experienced the presence, the power, the comfort, peace, kindness and love of our good, good Father.

So, to be so overcome with a sense of shame and unworthiness this morning has left me a little weak. Apparently its one thing to walk out His presence and power in my life in the typical everyday things, but yet another to take my place at His table personally. My head knows that He says I belong there with Him, but my heart had not been convinced.

I felt a strong connection with Jonathon’s son, Mephibosheth, when I read about him in 2 Samuel 9 this morning. David called him by name, and wanted to honor Jonathon by restoring all Saul’s property to Mephibosheth as well as have them eat all their meals together. But Mephibosheth couldn’t comprehend it.

He didn’t know who he was. He didn’t understand that he was the grandson of King Saul.

He had lived his entire life surrounded by poverty and wilderness, and equated that to his worth.

I bawled like a baby as I read that.

I understand what that feels like.

I know that God calls me His. That because of Jesus I am grafted in to His family. That because of His blood, I am gifted with His righteousness. That I could never have earned it on my own, but because God loves me and values me, He gifted me with Himself through Jesus. I know this. In my head.

Yet, because I have lived for the majority of my adult life with multiple seasons of pain, disappointment, anger, and loneliness, I have somehow managed to become conditioned to living with shame.

I realize now that I feel unworthy of elevation, acceptance, and complete love for me because I lived in a desert for so long. I have believed that I am not enough. Am not good enough. Worth enough. I guess death and divorce will do that to a girl.

That makes me sad. And I know enough to understand that it makes God sad too.

So I laid it before Him this morning. I thanked Him for seeing my value even when I have not. For using my seasons of pain for His glory, to point the way to His goodness for others that are in the pit of despair, pain and rejection. Because I know that HE is good. I just haven’t believed that I am good enough.

Today I am making a deeper shift in my thinking. I will endeavor to embrace my value to my King. He sees me as perfect, as priceless, because of Jesus. I live because of Him. In Him. Him in me. And HE thinks I’m all that.

So I will stop second guessing, doubting, and rejecting the truth of my worth.

I don’t have to strive for it. I don’t have to earn it. I just have to live in it.

I will sit at my place at His table, and revel in the pure joy of it.

I hope you take your spot too. We can sit together if you want.

 

love love

– Shev

It’s Beautiful

I know what it feels like to experience pain so deep, so profoundly, that it knocks the air out of your lungs, burns a hole inside you with such force that you can’t run from it, and kicks your knees from behind, leaving you off-balance, weak, and desperate.

I am transported back to these soul-battering moments of my life every time I witness someone else’s pain. Watching their features contort in anguish, hearing their cries of hopelessness and loss as someone or something they love is ripped from them… It feels so real to me. I can taste it all over again, that bitter brew of life’s betrayal.

I sometimes wonder why I have experienced so many things in such a short amount of time. Was it just a matter of a one-time decision that resulted in the avalanche that followed?

Could they have been prevented?

I can understand one or two of them happening since they are fairly common occurrences in our broken world:

  • The divorce rate is high, and since I was so naive when I got married, I guess I can’t be surprised even though I worked really hard to keep it from happening to me.
  • Miscarriages, infant deaths, accidents, tragedies… They happen every day, as sad as that sounds.
  • Cancer is everywhere, touching everyone in some way or another.
  • Having a child with special needs is not tragic, or uncommon.
  • Depression, anxiety, weight gain, and low self-esteem are sort of everyday fare for a large percentage of women.

What I am left with is an acute sense of empathy, as well as sympathy, for others who are in the middle of hard things in their lives.

Circumstances that leave them shattered. Aching. Bereft. Lost. Stuck. Hopeless. Numb.

Shrieking in pain. Angry. Sad. Betrayed. Disappointed. Hurt. Afraid.

Crawling inside themselves to get away.

Wishing they were seen and wanted.

I know these feelings well. I have lived them all.

My road has been long, dirty, stinky, hazardous, and winding as I have journeyed through a desert of pain and loss looking for the Jordan River to cross over into something new and green. Somewhere alive and flourishing.

I could smell the water from afar. I could imagine the sounds as it lapped against the shore. And to my pleasant surprise, I am finally at the water’s edge, only because I have followed the One who promised to lead me if I will follow.

The trick has been to trust this God who has shown Himself to me, inviting me closer even when I didn’t understand. Even when I felt like all that mattered had either been taken from me or had evaded me, He somehow persuaded my heart full of holes to  believe in what I could not see. To learn how to hope again despite evidence to the contrary.

I know I’m not the only one who knows the tang of despair.

Who is familiar with the smothering cloak of defeat, wondering if this is all there really is.

And who recognizes the tug of the current threatening to pull them under while they tread water, knowing they have mastered this act of survival, all the while fighting the heaviness of the wishing-stone around their ankle.

Today I read Philippians 1:6 and know that He taught me to learn it years ago for good reason. To grab hold of it, to yearn for the truth of it to become reality within my heart.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

He smiles at me and with me. He chuckles at me and with me. He takes great delight in showing me His heart toward me and toward those around me.

He wants me to know how much I am loved so that I never question it. He wants this love to so pervade my being that it leaks out of me just as fast as it fills me, sticking to the souls of the people He sets in my path.

So, I don’t know the answers to all my why’s. But I do know that I am tender towards Him.

And I know He is faithful.

So, so good.

In all the ways that matter and more.

It’s beautiful, this life. He’s taken all the piles of crap that were heaped up along the way, and used them as fertilizer… See how smart He is? I love how green and luscious it is here, and I am so grateful to experience it. As hard as it is to re-feel those difficult times, I am in a new place now.

All because He promised.

And I believed Him.

It’s beautiful.

– love love

Shev

When the Torture of Waiting Becomes a Different Flavor


Waiting. Praying.
Sometimes the frustrations of unrealized dreams or unanswered prayers can feel like we’re in quicksand. The more we struggle, push, pull, and freak out, the more we sink.
Lately I’ve discovered that my quicksand has been more of an illusion.
Let me unpack that:
Over the past few years, as I have learned to present my wounds and scars to God, He has taught me that He is good. In very basic ways He has shown up and cared for me, teaching me that I can trust Him to provide and to heal.
So I have graduated from survival mode to knowing that I am provided for. That no matter what I am facing, He is there with me.
This new season I’m in, however, apparently has more to do with the matters of the heart.
Dreams. Plans. Hopes.
And I have to admit that I’m surprised at how similar my feelings are now compared to the last season.
Scared. Unsure. Doubting.
Same dirt. Different pile.
I feel like He’s chuckling a little while I try to navigate my way around it all. Like He’s saying: “honey if we’re going to move forward with these plans I’ve got for you, we need to round out some of these sharp corners you’ve constructed.”
Ohh kayy.

I’ll be honest.
It’s the waiting that’s the hardest for me this time around. I’ve come to the place where I finally do believe that He’s going to do what I believe I’ve heard Him say He’s got planned.
But it’s the waiting for it that was killing me.

Learning to enjoy the process. Ugh.
Living for today, in this moment, with Joy, despite the fact that I haven’t seen anything come to fruition.
Every day He takes my face in His hands and reminds me to soak in Him. To watch Him. Learn from Him. Bask in Him.
It seems so utterly futile to my “lets-get-er-done” little mind, but in His reality, it’s what’s important.
He is developing my intentionality so that it keeps pace with His. He is stirring up deep desires, passions, and longings so that I have no choice but to take them to Him, begging for them to either come to fruition, or be canceled out.
He is cultivating my prayer life as well as strengthening my faith in Him.

None of it can be seen. Only felt.
And the sour taste in my mouth that had accumulated out of fear has now been transformed into something much sweeter.
He is faithful.
Trustworthy.
Able.
And willing.
Because these are His plans and He wants me to partner with Him in bringing them about.
It’s about my perspective.
Am I only seeing the giants in the land?

Or can I see the houses I didn’t build, the wells I didn’t dig, and the vineyards I didn’t plant that He has set aside for me and for His purposes?
If He says it, it’s a done deal. His word is solid.
So I’m learning to wait with anticipation, with a peace I didn’t know was possible (I can be SO impatient!), and an excitement despite the lack of evidence.
Either I’m completely delusional, or I’m learning what waiting on the Lord is really like.
You know, it’s not as nasty as I thought. It’s a different flavor.
A good one.
Love love
Shev

Does it Matter if We Matter?


Do I matter? Sure.

Particularly to my kids, my mom, the rest of my family and good friends.
What about that annoyingly pervasive thought that wants to know if I really matter in the big scheme of things? You know, in the world. My world.

I’m familiar with the Sunday school answers. The ones where we pat each other on the knee and tell each other how much God loves us, and that if we were the last ones on earth He still would have died for us, that’s how important we are. And I’m not dismissing that, because the whole lost sheep parable and all…
The sweet words and heartfelt pats on the knee become platitudes though, unless we catch a bit of a glimpse of who God is first.
Then take a peek at who He says we are.
And let it all take root.
***

It’s interesting to me that Jesus boiled all of the commandments down to two: to love God with all of our heart, our soul, and our mind. And to love our neighbor as ourself.

It’s also interesting to me how much He talked about the Father’s love for us. And how the gist of it all is that we respond to Him…

He starts it.

We respond.

He loves us. We love Him back. Because He loved us first.

***

I am figuring out that how and why I matter becomes a whole lot more clear as I ingest the magnitude of who God is. Because He never lets it just stay there. He could, since He is worthy of all the awe and adoration and incredulity I happen to muster.

But because He is love, He loves.

So as I gape and drool over His majesty and awesomeness, He gently yet passionately whispers His love, delight and adoration for me.

And because I am made in His image, and He is so multifaceted, I am unique.

One of a kind.

No one else like me.

Just like my girls are all from their dad and me, yet they’re completely different individuals. Many similarities maybe, but absolutely unique.

And I do not love them any more or less because of their differences. I love them all in vast amounts. Differently.

***

Soaking in this love-that-I-can’t-quite-put-into-words has a healing effect that I’m sure He is well aware of. The bruises, the cuts, the oozing sores, and broken bits and pieces I have learned to live with become more like sandpaper that refines me rather than the tumult I thought defined me.

***

Yesterday I asked Him to give me some words that He would describe me with (it was an impulse). Immediately three words came to mind:

-Fighter
-Loyal
-Beautiful
It’s taken me a bit to process this, because frankly my first reaction was uncomfortable and maybe even a little deflated. They seem so vague and maybe even overused.

But God is never vague. He is intentional in all He says and does.

And these three words matter because He says I matter.

So I’m going to continue to process these words from His perspective, and continue to learn and soak up all I can about Him. Because He matters. And if I’m to love others like I love myself, I have a strong hunch it should be just as intentional as His love for me is. Let’s not forget that the spoken given in those two commandments is that we love ourselves… Do we?

Ask. Seek. Find.

And love. Always love.

Because You matter.

-Love love

Shev

 

Singled Out

II wonder how many other people feel misplaced or like they don’t belong? It’s something that I have wrestled with most of my life, feeling like a third wheel, a tag-a-long; the misfit.

Present, but not really seen.

Yet the ache has always been there. To belong. And be seen. As I am and for who I am.

Funny, but I just don’t seem to fit into anyone’s mold. I don’t have a polished, normal, well-oiled and running life like most women appear to have at my age. I don’t think I ever have. Too many hurts. Disappointments. Misses. Failures. And questions.

  • I laugh loudly
  • Get intense and talk loudly when I’m excited (my kids say I’m yelling. Am not.)
  •  Hate shopping yet understand the need to wear clothing in public (whaddaya mean I can’t wear my cutoffs to the restaurant?)
  • Have a bent sense of humor
  • Have a tendency to swear
  • Walk funny (Ruby says its sassy. Unfair.)
  • Refused to go to university because I didn’t think I was smart enough, consequently have worked numerous jobs to scrape by over the years (i.e.: waitress, bank teller, traveling singer, preschool teacher, cleaning lady, paperboy/girl/mama, residential painter, private duty home care…)
  • Married young, thrilled to be a wife and mother, yet spent my thirties alternately devastated and angry.

I was one of the fortunate ones (still am, even after divorce) to have been completely loved and accepted by my in-laws. So there’s that. And for the first time as an adult I began to feel part of my church community in the small town we lived in, and felt roots begin to go down deep as I became an active part of that family as well.

There was still this thing though… I was just one little, insignificant part of a whole. Dispensable.

In 2005 I began to see a counselor for the first time after my marriage completely fell apart, and somehow this sweet older man got me to admit something that was always lurking beneath the surface, yet I had never put words to: I didn’t want to be just One of Many anymore. 

And I immediately felt guilty.

How dare I? Who did I think I was? What kind of glory-seeker was I?

I was no one special, so had no business whatsoever of looking for anything from anyone, particularly God. He already went to great lengths to get me into His good graces, so there’s no way I could or should be wishing for anything more.

And this dear, gentle soul chuckled softly and said “Sheavaun, I don’t think you realize how much God gets a kick out of you.”

Uh. No.

Years of religious teaching had firmly entrenched within me that because I am not to think of myself more highly than I ought, I was therefore ‘nobody’. Humility to the max, baby.

And so began the unraveling.

Whispers of His delight began to brush against my soul as He took me through the Bible, and brought other books and teaching to my attention.

Trickles of love for me began to slowly fill the cracks of shame and embarrassment I have felt because I thought I wasn’t enough.

He washed me with His approval. His smile covered me because He made me.

He revealed how He has been with me since before He even created me, despite my poor choices, bad decisions, hateful acts, and venomous words.

I am His.

And He is mine.

I am still one of many, but it has a different ring to it now. I am a beloved child within a loving family.

And I matter. Simply because He thinks so.

I want everyone to know this. To be singled out, known, and loved.

There’s nothing like it.

I hope you look for it. For Him. Because when you seek, you find.

Of course, I still have my moments where I still feel like the odd man out. I work too much to allow me to get involved in things that would enable me to become a part of a community, so instead I watch with pangs of loneliness that I trust will eventually be assuaged. I trust the One who loves me most.

Love love

Shev

Letting God Create Beauty From Our Ashes