I want…

I want a heart that forgives,

A heart full of love.

One with compassion just like Yours above.

One that over comes evil with goodness and love.

Like it never happened, never holding a grudge.

I want a heart that forgives that lives and lets live.

One that keeps loving over and over again.

One that men can’t offend, because Your word is within.

One that loves without price like you lord Jesus Christ.

I want a heart that loves everybody, even my enemies.

I want to love like You,

be like You,

just like You did.

I want a heart that forgives.

I want a heart that forgives,

When the ones that are closest , that I’ve known the longest

hurt me the most; I still wanna love them just like You loved me

Even though I’m hurting.

I want a heart that forgives,

when the pain is so deep and it’s so hard  to speak about it to anyone.

Just like your Son, I give up my rights to hold it against them with hatred inside.

I want a heart that loves everybody, even my enemies.

I wanna love like You,

be like You,

just like You did.

I want to walk like You,

talk like You,

just like You did,

I want to be like You

live like You,

just like You did.

Because the heart that forgives,

is the heart that will live totally free from the pain of the past.

The heart that lets go,

is the heart that will know so much freedom.

Lord, I want to let it go.

God, I need to let it go.

Lord, it’s been holding me back.

And I don’t want it, I don’t want it, I don’t want it anymore.

I don’t know exactly what to do to get rid of it.

Here I am, Lord Jesus.

Here I am.

I need You. I need You.

Giving Thanks Bye Bye Plastic

I don’t even remember what my first credit card was, or what I bought with it, or why I thought it having one was such a good idea.

 

It wasn’t just that I was spending money that I didn’t have. It was that I was trying to live the lifestyle of an executive, as an intern. I was at the lunches, wearing my cute new outfits. I was getting Starbucks and adding the extra shots. I was buying presents for people.

 

I was trying to gain the acceptance of everyone around me while the only One who has ever truly loved me and accepted me watched as I put another shackle on my ankle. I was an idiot.

 

I have nothing to show for the over $30,000 of credit card debt that I had racked up between the ages of 18 & 23. Nothing.

 

I was living in Ohio and part of the community at sevenoseven the night I laid my debt on the altar, literally.

 

Pastor Dan Burgoyne was preaching on radical amputation . Remember the whole “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” business? Yeah, that was Jesus (Matthew 5:29-). And He was serious.

 

Pastor Dan challenged us something was sin in your life, and you know sin separates you from God, Jesus commands us to radically amputate that sin.

 

There he was, calling all of us twenty-somethings out on our junk. He challenged the hormone driven men to burn their porn, our lust, our flirtations, our overeating, drinking, sleeping, spending,  gossip magazines. If we are the body and bride of Christ, why are we so entangled in our self pleasure and sin? And what does that say about the redemptive message that God is our all in all that we preach to the “unbelievers”.  And I knew.

 

My credit cards had me in chains. I could not run hard after God while in bondage to sin.

 

So there we were. A community broken over our sin. I knew what I had to do. I cut up my credit cards to pieces. I returned to my seat to continue in worship of my Creator, and Provider.

 

I remember Ryan Wilkins leading worship that night. I remember it as though it was just yesterday. Through the tears we sang….

You are the only one I need

I bow all of me at Your feet

I worship You alone

You have given me more than I could ever have wanted

And I want to give You my heart and my soul

You alone are Father And You alone are good

You are alone are Savior And You alone are God

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

 

With my credit cards on the altar I made a commitment to not rely on the false security credit offered. So I closed all my accounts and made an aggressive contract to pay all the debt back, with a negotiated lower interest rate, in just over 5 years. I had to trust that this was true obedience and that He who started the good work would be faithful to complete it.

 

God proved Himself faithful.

 

The last several years have been rough. It has been total dependence on Christ and His provision. I have had to ask for help from my parents. I have freaked out in prayer about my money and bills. And God led   people to randomly, and anonymously bless me with cash, or gift cards, or checks through the church in the mail. Friends have noticed me being on fumes and filling up my car. There were seasons of not being able to find a job, and He was faithful.

 

In September I made my last payment to my creditors.

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace………….

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

Giving Thanks 2009

So, I pretty much feel like a slacker. I have so much to be thankful for, and my “month of giving thanks” is starting as the month is coming to an end. 

 

The last thing that my life needs is something to be legalistic about. Feeling that I must write “because”…..

 

I refuse to have something that I love become a miserable noose.

 

So, I’ve been laying low over here at julieUnscripted. It’s been a bittersweet combination of living life and not writing about it, joy and frustration, complete chaos in the midst of the most consistent schedule I have ever had.  Having less possessions and  less money than ever, being more mindful of the kingdom of God, yet somehow finding myself more complete . And then there is being out of, into, and back out of my “fat pants”.

 

Plus my computer’s hard drive died.

 

Today, I am thankful that we were created for community. Thankful that I need you, and that you need me to be real and vulnerable, and that you embrace me, my mess, but don’t let me stay there. I am thankful that you are still here. Thankful that you are still checking in.   Thankful for friends who refuse to leave me to myself and refuse to let me shut down and become a recluse. Friends who pull me closer, even as I shove away.  Thankful for those whom I have never met encouraging me. 

 

Let’s hug.

 

And we can all be thankful that one day I will have an editor who will correct my grammar, and unsplit my infinitives, yet still let me be me.

 

 

Philippians 1

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,  5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

 6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

 7For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

 8For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

 9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,  10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;  11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Giving Thanks Sticks and Stones Nov10

“Sticks and stones may break my bones…. but words will never hurt me”

So many times I have said that – and I wished it was true…

The truth is that words do hurt, and can leave scars worse than any broken bones.

 

I am thankful for the middle school students who made fun of me today, and for being made fun so much when I was growing up.

 

I realized about a year ago that much of the compassion and empathy I have to offer not only these girls I work with, but other women, comes from feeling so blasted, torn down, and rejected. Because I have never had any no social collateral to  offer. I have always known who my true friends have been.

 

God has been gracious and has been rebuilding me, with humility.

 

What was meant for evil – God has turned into good, for His purpose, and His glory.

 

He is restoring the years the locusts have stolen.

Not dead… but wounded…

I have not committed online suicide, I am still writing, but bear with me I am wounded….

Since California I am coming to realize how very wounded I am. These wounds sometimes direct my thoughts and my actions.

 

God is so good and so gracious to heal these wounds, and bring them to my attention just one at a time. Just like an accident victim looking down to see her own blood, God is gracious to not allow me to go into shock.

 

Growing up without Jesus in the home, a mom who is the child of an alcoholic, an alcoholic father, a promiscuous sister, and being overweight since my earliest memories of kindergarten – I have had some wounds.

 

With all family wounds aside (that’s another blog for another day – a blog about the ongoing process of healing and restoration), I have been picked on verbally, deliberately socially excluded in ways that I would know it was happening, intentionally called the wrong name, beat up on the bus and the playground – I could continue, but I refuse.

 

Some of my wounds are self-inflicted. I gossip, slander, overeat, oversleep, doubt myself, doubt my God, withhold love from those who have harmed me, I keep an account of wrongs, I am insecure, I am a hypocrite. I could go on – but I refuse. 

 

Each action, like a blade in the flesh of not my body, but the body of Christ. Wounded.

 

This blog is not about the wounds that have affected me in every area of my life – financially, relationally, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and physically.

As Chris Tress would say “Stop Bellygazing” (looking down at our own faults) and look up!

 

This blog is about my Healer, my Hope, my Reconciliation, my great Physician – the Lover of my soul, my Creator, my Father, my Comfort, my ONLY Hope.

 

Yesterday we were having a time of prayer at Urban Youth Impact (how thankful I am to serve with those who seek the Lord) and Nattie’s husband, John, my coworker and friend, led us in worship – I could sing this song all day – and be somewhat accurate if I could find it on ITunes…

Balm of Gilead

You’re the rock of the ages
You’re the balm of Gilead
Make us strong and courageous
Heal the wounds that we’ve had
(Repeat)

We need Your Spirit
We need freedom
We need Your Spirit
We need freedom
We need You

You’re the counselor from heaven
You’re my bright and morning star
You bring comfort and protection
Shine Your light in my heart
(Repeat)

I need Your Spirit
I need freedom
I need Your Spirit
I need freedom
I need You

 

Last night I heard something great – this guy said, “Stop listening to yourself, and start talking to yourself”

Here is me talking to myself, and God talking to me through His perfect Word.

 

Isaiah 42:3 (read the whole chapter for some refreshing! As always, it’s even more powerful in context)

  A bruised reed he will not break,
       and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
       In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Joel 2

Isaiah 61:1-3 (speaking of Jesus)

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners,

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn,

 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty
       instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness
       instead of mourning,
       and a garment of praise
       instead of a spirit of despair.
       They will be called oaks of righteousness,
       a planting of the LORD
       for the display of his splendor.

 

Philippians 1:6

being confident (not doubting, not wavering, not fearful – confident) of this, that he (not me) who began (the author and finisher of my faith)  a good work (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11in you will (not maybe, not thinking about it, not “ehh if I get around to it”) carry it on to completion (all done, followed through, perfected, “IT IS FINISHED”) until the day (it’s a process) of Christ Jesus.

 

He is doing the good work….  if I was in surgery, would I be talking to, or aggressively questioning the surgeon? Would I be waking up? I need to heed the advice in Psalm 46..

Psalm 46:10

10 “Be still (it’s a choice, just be, still… not squirmy just.. be… still…), and know (not  think, not doubt, know) that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Slowing down to let the Healer heal,

Julie