Shattered Mirrors

Recently I’ve been thinking about a vision I saw while praying a couple of years ago. I’m not sure why, but I feel like now is the time to share it. I hope that it will speak to someone and bring blessing today.

I was struggling, as often seems to be the case, with feeling unworthy and insignificant. I know those feelings are never true, and as a way to fight them, I was asking God to show me how He sees me. I rarely get visions or pictures when I’m praying, but this time I did, and it wasn’t what I expected. Instead of seeing myself through God’s eyes, I found myself in the middle of hundreds of mirrors, all showing distorted images of me.

I’m not sure exactly how to describe the scene, but it was sort of like the “fun house” rooms in some films where there is a maze of mirrors, dim lighting, and flashes of light here and there. I was desperate to find the exit and see a true representation of myself instead of all of the distorted images I was being shown.

After what felt like ages of wandering thought this maze of mirrors, I became distraught and fell to my knees with my head bowed to the floor and covered with my arms. I was weeping and desperate to be set free from this nightmare.

Into that scene walked Jesus. He knelt beside me and covered my body with His. When I was covered, he spoke just two words, “It’s done.” As He said those words, every mirror shattered, and glass went flying everywhere.

When I looked up to thank Him, I couldn’t recognize Him. The shattered glass had torn His flesh, and He looked like He did following the portrayal of His torture and crucifixion in the film The Passion of the Christ.

In that picture, I saw what He thinks of me… and what He thinks of you! He thought we were valuable enough to step into our anguish, to cover our despair, and to destroy the lies and distorted images of ourselves that the Enemy would like us to live in bondage to – even if it cost Him everything.

If you’re struggling today with seeing yourself through God’s eyes, allow Him to come and break the distorted mirrors that Satan or others would hold up in front of you. You are created in the image of a loving God, who will show up and shatter the wrong perceptions you see. Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, and He thinks you are gorgeous – worth more than you will ever be able to comprehend!

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Hope Found in a Jigsaw Puzzle

One of my favorite things to do when I have a couple of days with nothing pressing is get out a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Depending on the difficulty, I will often spend 2-3 days straight doing little besides eating, sleeping, and standing over the table, looking for where each piece fits. There is such a feeling of accomplishment when I see the whole picture completed.

When I visited my family in the USA last year, my mum bought me a puzzle to bring home as a Christmas gift. So, just after Christmas, when I knew I had some days free, I ripped off the plastic and excitedly started working on it. Sadly, though it was 1000 pieces, it proved relatively easy, and I had it completed in about 8 hours.

Once completed, it stayed on the table for a couple of weeks, waiting to be dismantled and put away. I’m not sure why it took me so long to put it away, but it’s good that it did. During the process of taking each piece apart, God spoke to me and brought hope to my heart.

I’ve been praying for the last number of weeks for breakthrough. As I’ve prayed, I’ve seen a person behind walls, enclosed in a small room in the middle of a beautiful garden. I’ve felt that the walls were built by the person for protection, but that they have become a prison instead, holding the person back from things God wants to give them.

Perhaps the person in the room could represent many of us; I know it could represent me. I imagine there are many of us afraid to step into the beautiful places God wants to take us. Even if we want to take that step, some of us have built such convincing walls, we believe we can never get beyond them.

The morning I began to dismantle my jigsaw puzzle, I had been lamenting how impressive the walls appeared to me, believing that breakthrough would take years, if the walls ever came down at all. Yet as I started to take apart the puzzle, piece by piece, a quiet voice whispered into my heart that the walls are no different than this puzzle. Within minutes, no two pieces were still connected, though it had taken me hours of work to put them together.

God used that moment to bring hope that it will not take countless years or months, perhaps not even weeks, to see walls fall. Even walls that have taken years to build can be brought down quickly with the right motivation and resources. Just as a house takes months to build but can be completely demolished in minutes, when we decide to bring down the walls, it doesn’t have to take a long time.

The walls may look impenetrable, but they are not. As I have continued to pray about this picture of the room, I have noticed that although the walls look like the walls of a fortress on the inside, the outside is simply drywall. A fist could break through the walls at any moment, but the inside has been painted to look formidable to those seeking their ‘protection.’

God loves building things, but He also loves tearing down things that stand in His way. He is the only resource we need to see breakthrough in the things holding us back from all that He has for us. His love, perspective and strength can bring down walls in no time.

The only thing stopping Him is us, those on the inside, afraid of what the beautiful garden might bring our way, or perhaps afraid that we can no longer escape our self-made prison of ‘protection.’ He will not break in uninvited.

Are you hiding behind walls, afraid of where God wants to bring you? Do you want out, but believe it will take years to break through into His best for you? Invite Him to help you demolish the walls and step into all that He longs to give you.

Sunsets… Still Beautiful!

One of the Christmas gifts I received this year was a wee painting from a dear friend. This is Knocknarea at sunset…Knocknarea sunset (2)

I shared with my friend last week that the painting is especially meaningful because of the way God uses sunsets to speak with me. I found a post I wrote almost exactly two years ago about what sunsets speak to me, and shared it with her.

As I read the post again, I realized that it is still applicable to my life two years later. This may be cheating, but I’m going to copy the post below. I pray it is encouraging to you…

 

Sunsets & Beauty – Originally posted 13 January 2014

As I was writing and studying this past week, I started listening to the Hans Zimmer station on Pandora. There is nothing like epic soundtrack music to help one write a story about a crazy trip across a country or read through nursing CEUs. While listening though, I was introduced to the music of Phillip Wesley. (I now own 1.5 of Mr. Wesley’s albums, and I’m sure that number would be higher had the credit in my iTunes account been higher.)

The album Pandora introduced me to is called the Dark Night of the Soul, and I was captivated each time one of the songs would come on. The above song, “Race Against The Sunset”, was one that was played, and even without words it spoke to me. You see, sunsets speak to me, or rather God speaks to me through them.

I have always loved sunsets, and in that aspect of nature more than any other, I have heard God whisper of His love for me.

I am a morning person. Provided I get to bed early enough to get a decent amount of sleep, I love being up early, getting things done, enjoying the stillness of morning, and on occasion watching the sky light up with the colors of a new dawn. And yet, sunrise rarely speaks to me in the way that a sunset does.

After a particularly radiant display on my birthday a couple of years ago, I asked God why it is that the colors of the evening speak so much to my heart. The response was both encouraging and terrifying.

These are the words I wrote in my journal the following day. “I feel like You said that the sunset was ‘our thing’ because it is the whisper and promise of incredible beauty even in the coming of the dark night (of the soul?)… A little scary because it is as much a promise of darkness in the coming time as of the promise it is meant to confirm. But there will be beauty in the midst of it that can be breathtaking and make the light that much more glorious when it comes.”

The painted sky became my reminder from God that He is trustworthy and beauty was present no matter how much light or darkness surrounds me. And that reminder has been a lifeline in the last 2 1/2 years.

I hate to complain because compared with so many people, my life seems beyond easy, but my own journey, though devoid of outward problems, has been on some dark paths recently. I can’t point to one specific thing that made these years so difficult, but it has been a time of stretching, questioning, and a fair amount of inner turmoil.

As I have listened to this CD over the past week or so, I have gravitated to a song near the end of the album called “Into the Light”. I feel God whispering to my soul that the dark night is ending and I am moving at last into the light of a new dawn. As they always do, another night will come, and I will face the setting sun again in the future, but I still have my promise from God that those times will be filled with the Beauty that is Him.

In the mean time, I am going to appreciate and enjoy the coming dawn and the new day, the new chapter of my life that it will bring. I don’t have a clue what that day will bring, but I know that good things are coming. God is building a sense of anticipation and expectancy deep in me for what is to come, and I am excited to walk the journey by His side and see just what He does along the way.

For more info on Philip Wesley’s music, visit his website: http://philipwesley.com/

My Word for 2016

Once again this year, I have prayed about and chosen one word that will define my goals and focus for the year. The word for 2016 is “GROWTH,” and I am excited to see how God will bring growth in various areas of my life throughout the next 12 month!

Along with the word for the year, I also pray and ask for a verse to focus on. It usually goes along with the word, and this year is no different. The verses I got for this year are found in Isaiah 54:2-3. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.”

As I prayed into what this verse means for me this year, I was reminded of the verse that God gave me before I moved to Ireland: Psalm 18:19 says, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” I felt like God told me when I came here that He would plant me in a “broad place” where I would have room to grow. It seems that the time for that growth has come…

Over the last few days of processing this word with God (and with friends/family), it has become clear to me that in order to really grow or expand my dwelling here, I have to put down roots. I have been calling this place “home” for nearly two years, and I feel as though I’ve already settled here, but I feel like God is saying to take it a step further. At the moment, putting down roots means looking into opening a bank account in Ireland, and perhaps more significantly, beginning to gather information and start saving toward getting my license to drive in Ireland.

I have a feeling that as I put down these roots, however insignificant they seem to me, God is going to bring growth that I haven’t even imagined yet. I don’t know what my life will look like at the end of the year. I hope there will be ministry growth, with more opportunities to teach and even a published book! I believe there will be continued growth in relationships here, and I am excited to see what God does with the people He is connecting me with here. I hope there will be growth in the area of health (which oddly enough, will mean the opposite of growth in some things…)

My hopes and sense of expectancy for what God is going to do this year are high. I will admit that some of my hopes and dreams for this year are terrifying. They seem so big I don’t see how they can be possible, and yet, when I turn my focus back to the One holding those dreams, they seem pretty small after all. I’m sure there will be growing pains along the way, but I’m equally sure they will be worth it to see the promises of God fulfilled in my life for His glory.

Do you have a word for 2016? I’d love to know… Please share in the comments.