Don’t be sorry for having breath in your lungs

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I say sorry a lot

Often I say it too much

My good friends have told me so

Sometimes I’m sorry for cutting someone off

I try my best to say I’m sorry when I’ve messed up

But the Lord lovingly tells me “Don’t be sorry for having breath in your lungs.”

For far too long, I was disappointed in the life I’ve lived. Because of my many world-defined “weaknesses”, and mistakes that I’ve made, I thought I was defective, not worthy of the breath in my lungs. Somehow, I thought God made a mistake when he made me…because I’ve been listening to the voices of the world. I have always been ultra-sensitive…and the “world” doesn’t much like ultra-sensitive. I have always been creative – and for too long I thought being creative, by the “world’s” economy, was a waste of time. I’ve never been a clean freak – and the “world” says “cleanliness is next to godliness” (nowhere does it say this in the Bible, by the way). I have never been very organized – and the “world” doesn’t much like clutter or the people who create it. I have struggled with depression and anxiety – and the “world” tells me to snap out of it.

I’ve accumulated a collection of masks over the years so that I can switch them out depending on the person I am going to encounter. I put on the “I’ve got my act together” mask when I encounter the person who thinks that sharing feelings is for weaklings. I grab my “our apartment is clean and spotless” mask when that friend or family member who majors in “inspection” calls that they are coming in 30 minutes (check out the closet). I put on my “no, I haven’t been creating art” mask when I encounter that person who thinks art is for elementary school kids. You get the picture.

But when I am still and quiet and listen for His voice, God tells me to shut off the voices of this fallen world. He says:

·         You are my beautiful, beloved child.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16

·         Don’t despise your weaknesses.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

·         Many of my children have suffered from depression (Elijah, David, Peter, Paul). Don’t be ashamed of this gift that brought you to your knees and instilled a deep hunger for My presence in your life. I will use your suffering for good.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given usus.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

·         I love you.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

·         Don’t be sorry for having breath in your lungs.

“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10

I’m so grateful God’s economy is the total opposite of the world’s economy. Thank you Lord for the blood-bought breath in my lungs.

“There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind. Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven. When you shut out the world and focus on My Presence, you can enjoy sitting with Me in heavenly realms. This is an incredible privilege reserved for precious ones who belong to Me and seek My Face. Your greatest strength is your desire to spend time communing with Me. As you concentrate on Me, My Spirit fills your mind with Life and Peace.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Wednesday Quote: Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Christina:

I’m reading this book now, and boy is it speaking to me about the heart God desires. I have also listened to the message that prompted the writing of the book. Here is the link: http://vimeo.com/m/52256169

Originally posted on BEAUTIFUL:

Earlier this month I re-read Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. So good! This book was written  out of a talk NLD did at a Campus Crusade Staff Conference in 1995. A friend who was there gave me a cassette tape of that talk in ’97 or ’98. I’ve listened to it countless times, and lent it out to dozens of girls. I still have that nearly worn out cassette, but no cassette player. So when I began feeling the nudge to remember/reconsider some of those truths, I pulled the book off my shelf. So glad I did!

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Pillar of Salt Revelation

Pillar of salt formation, called Lot's Wife (credit to wikipedia commons)

Pillar of salt formation, called Lot’s Wife (credit to Wikipedia Commons)

A friend asked me a few weeks ago “How can you be so open about your life and your struggles?” She heard me share my testimony in my recovery program, I had begun to open up about my imperfections and inadequacies in our single mom group, and I have been writing about my journey through recovery from depression and codependency on my blog.

My answer: I no longer want people to love the mask-wearing, people-pleasing, false version of me. I want them to love the “real” me – the good, the bad, the ugly. I told her that I was exhausted living in a straight-jacket of the world’s expectations. It’s exhausting putting on and taking off masks all day long.

Last night I had a revelation after a lesson on grace. After meditating for a few seconds on a question about the grace I’ve experienced in recovery, a thought came to my mind. Suddenly, I was that 7 year old little girl again watching a biblical movie with my dad (I can’t remember the name of it, but I’m pretty sure Charlton Heston was in it). It was the scene in the Old Testament where Lot and his family are high-tailing it out of Sodom and Gomorrah (Google it). They are warned not to look back at the “evil cities” that are being destroyed. Lot’s wife looks back as they are standing on hill a few miles from the cities. She immediately turns into a pillar of salt (or stone). I remember as a little girl feeling so sorry for her, for Lot, for their children, and for myself. I was sure I would have looked back too, and I was terrified. That image stuck with me for weeks…months…obviously my whole life if it still came to mind at 42 years old.

The revelation was this: before I started sharing my sin, my scars, my inadequacies with the people in my life, I was terrified. I held a deeply ingrained fear that I would turn into a pillar of salt…that being “real” would mean death for me. I’m realizing that a death did take place through these many months of recovery – the death of the false me, and a new life of trusting in Jesus is emerging from the ashes (or shall I say salt?).  I realize that the shedding of masks I’ve worn for so long is a type of burial. A painful, but necessary, burial…if I am ever going to embrace the life God has for me, allow the light of Jesus to shine through my weak spots, and be loved for the REAL, mask-free me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9

 

What childhood terrors have you found freedom from?

“When You Think You’ve Had To Much Of This Life…Hold On” R.E.M.

Rest

I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to begin a weekly devotional series based on lines from some of my favorite songs. That line, from Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. – ”When you think you’ve had too much of this life…hold on” has been hanging out in my head for WEEKS. The song was a comfort to me after my dad’s death 15 years ago. 

I’ve been there…had too much of this life, and it wasn’t too long ago. I often think I’ve moved past that point, when gush, like a tidal wave, the flood of fears, anxieties, sadness, and the feeling that I’m barely breathing come rushing in (sometimes I have to use my inhaler). They came rushing in this week, the day after I found out about Robin William’s suicide – yes, I typed those words. I heard the news on the radio on the drive home from work. I was initially shocked and saddened, but it didn’t affect me too much that night. I shared the news with my daughter, and she was visibly distraught. I didn’t really understand why she was so sad, and clearly she didn’t want to talk about it (she’s 16). I know she’s grown up with so many of his movies – Aladdin, Happy Feet, Patch Adams, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire and the list goes on and on. I suspect he was like a virtual father-figure to her.

The next morning on the drive to work the tidal wave came. I was an anxious mess all day long. Not just because of the news but because of some other circumstances that I cannot discuss here and now. I put on my trusty mask, only I think it needs to be repaired because it didn’t quite cover up the chaos hiding underneath. I shared with my daughter that night that the news hit me.

I wrote the following poem with hurting friends in mind, but I could just as easily be writing it to myself, aware that there are times when I think I’ve had too much….so I could read these words to remember that there are better days ahead.

To The Hurting One

I suspect the pain runs deeper than you are willing to admit

I’m sure your stomach is in knots and panic has probably set in

I know you want to hang on, but it seems so very hard

I’m sure sleep eludes you, and when you do sleep the terror sleeps right beside you

So many voices are telling you what to do, but even your next breath seems like a major chore

More than likely you wonder if God is punishing you…and you wonder if He has ever loved you

I fathom anger lurks right at the edge and you are one step away from proclaiming your pain to the world

Hurting one, I’ve been there and won’t say I don’t struggle anymore

Hurting one, I see the child in you begging you to take his hand and lead him back into the light

I know it’s so so so very hard to believe that you are loved (believe me, I know), but I pray you discover its true

Hurting one, I urge you to sit in His lap, share from the depths of your heart, let the tears roll, and let Him hold you, for He cries with you

Hurting one, I know it’s so hard to see, but the Light is there…reach for the Light

©Christina Hernandez, August 2014

He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

For more of my depression story, please read my previous blog posts.

Resource:

http://www.celebraterecovery.com

A Very Crowded Cloud

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“His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

The above quote comes from this very eye-opening Oswald Chambers devotional I read this morning: http://utmost.org/do-you-see-jesus-in-your-clouds/

I only had to meditate for a few short moments on the question asked in the last paragraph – “Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud?” A somewhat humorous but quite a disturbing image formed in my mind. There I was standing very distraught and exhausted in the center of my cloud. Instead of Jesus standing next to me in the center of the cloud, he was very calmly with hand outstretched standing on the edge of the cloud.

There was a fence of people standing around me and I couldn’t get to Jesus, and He didn’t have room to move closer to me, and why would I expect Jesus to push past a fence of people? The people surrounding me were shouting their expectations of me. It was a chaotic scene. The people didn’t even see that Jesus was right there. I knew He was there but did I say anything to the people surrounding me? NO! That makes me very sad.

I don’t want anyone or anything to block my access to Jesus or His access to me, and I don’t ever want to be part of the fence blocking someone else from Jesus.

My prayer is that Jesus will gently help me to do some cloud-clearing.

Is anyone else standing in the cloud that only you and Jesus should be occupying?

 

Who I Belong To

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“You live among people who glorify busyness; they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, July 17

Dear Lord,

I have sensed for a long time that this cubicle, 8-5, commuter world I live in was never your intention. I know now where to find you, and it’s not in the crazy-making. The thought of “busyness” as an idol was far from my mind for a very long time. I got caught in the trap of thinking the ways of the world were “the way”, but now I know that it is one of enemy’s greatest tactics and lies from the pit of hell. I am exhausted, Lord, trying to keep pace with the world. In the quiet and stillness, with you by my side, is where I’m reminded who I am and…

Who I Belong To

I belong to You, Lord

but, how often I forget that…

I don’t belong to people and their expectations, praises or rejections.

I belong to You, Lord,

but too often I forget that…

I don’t belong to this world and its temptations.

I belong to You, Lord

but way too often I forget that…

I don’t belong to the job and the desk

I belong to You, Lord

but day in and day out I forget…

I don’t belong to the clock and its deadlines

I belong to You, Lord

but it is way too easy to forget…

I don’t belong to the places where I worship or the Bible studies I attend

I belong to You, Lord

but I sure do forget that…

I don’t belong to my blog, or Facebook, or Twitter

I belong to You, Lord

but embarrassingly I forget that…

I don’t belong to my bank account or its negative or positive balances.

I belong to You, Lord

but unfortunately I forget that…

I don’t belong to myself and my need to control

I belong to You, Lord

but sadly I forget that…

I don’t belong to my past or the “sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1)

I BELONG TO YOU, LORD and I pray that you will help me to BE STILL and KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD (Psalm 46:10)

©Christina Hernandez, July 2014