don’t quit

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Dear Sis,

What lie do you need to abandon today?
Is it a familiar one? Or something new that crept up on the horizon threatening to take you out?
Don’t you find it most frustrating when you revisit the same old lie and give it power again and again.
It’s the one you have denounced in your loudest voice. You’ve stomped on it and felt like you silenced it once and for all.
And then, boom, there it is again.
Rearing its ugly head like an habitual hazard every time you hit a bump in the road.

And instead of kicking it to the curb, you kick yourself because you just can’t believe you let it in again. Because you know you are the only one with the power to make it stop.
And if you’re like me, you stand there knee-deep in disappointment and discouragement, murmuring to yourself, how can it be?

How can it be you’re still searching for answers to the same echoing questions? Where is this coming from? Why am I sitting with this thing again? Why is the same feeling flooding into my heart when the heart knows better?

Sis, do you find yourself picking through the old files, looking for evidence pointing to the place you first felt the feeling? The first time you believed you were not enough. The first time you stood looking for help and the people who were supposed to love you turned their backs and walked away? No matter which lie speaks loudest in your life they all lead to one conclusion. The ultimate lie we all believe, we are alone.  And it plays over and over in our heads on repeat. And the lie takes on a life of its own that grows into a gaping pit.

How does a girl fix that hole? How does she find a way to fill it so nothing else falls in? We girls need to know, because the next time the bump in the road flings a hazard our way, it might just open up and swallow us whole again.

Haven’t we all patched it up with all kinds of lovely things? We find our people who stand up when things are falling down all around. We embrace God’s Word full of hope for the hopeless holes in our hearts. We repair the tears with promises.

Yet still, that lie pushes back in opening the wound. It’s yesterday’s old aching that echoes from a deep longing.

Because the truth is, a little girl abandoned, finds it hard to believe in present promises.

Oh, yeah, we can read about the straight up truth all day long in our Bible. We can plant it in our minds and hearts, but we need it to grow.
To grow louder and stronger and to chase out the ugly whisper that sneaks in when our lives takes a hit.

Here’s the thing to cling to today. Every battle we walk away from gives us strength and resolve. Every battle no matter how bloody, makes us determined to denounce the lie again. And this new view will give us new strategies for the next time.

Oh, yeah, there’s no doubt, there will be a next time. Sis, life is full of stumbling and struggling and there are powers that push us into corners of the past with those same old voices pressing into the scars we carry. So let’s get ready for battle.

Believe this, every time we stand up and defeat those voices, it builds our courage to keep up the good fight against lies trying to find a foothold in our minds.

Even when the first steps take us back, God equips us to just keep moving through. He has His hand at our back, His voice in our ear telling us the truth, the whole truth. The question is, who will you listen to? You get to choose.
The secret is this. Don’t stop. Going through is the only choice that makes any sense. If you are standing in the pain, and the past is stinging your eyes with unshed tears again, keep moving. Take one more step. Because that step will change something. It will change your mind. Turning and moving in the direction of God’s truth will lead you into love. It’s where you belong dear heart.

Even when you get stuck listening to the old voices, the new one is singing over you. And it’s the sweetest song, written just for you, and it’s been playing for all eternity. It’s meant to drown out all the lies. And God just wants you to hear His heartbeat alongside yours in the melody. It’s a love song of epic proportions. He chose you and He promises to never abandon you. So don’t give up!

The secret is this. Don’t stop. Going through is the only choice that makes sense. He’s just around the bend, and He’s waiting to rescue you from this place. Again and again.

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Will we choose to break through or break down?

My Dear Sis,

As I stand at yet another crossroad in my life, I look around and wonder if you’ve ever felt the same anxiety the unknown future brings.  It drops in unannounced and unwelcome. Oh, I am confident in so many other places, but in the future there are unseen moments that make me quake and shake and stumble.

I am about to move to a new town. Again. I have been in this place just three short years. Honestly, I have only recently found my people. You know who I mean. The people who think like you, laugh at the same things, find joy in simple, silly things, love the same coffee places you do and love to sit and talk and talk and talk about Jesus til the cows come home. The people you call home. Your tribe.

If you’ve ever moved and had to rebuild your tribe, you know the anxiety I face. Starting over requires steps. You have to move out into unchartered waters and risk exposing yourself. You’ve got to find a way to trust there is a safe passage through to the new beginning.

Sis, have you ever stood in a similar place?  That place where you try to fool yourself into believing maybe you can just go around instead of through?  Oh yeah, I’ve spent days, months, yes even years declaring I would stand firm and not go through the thing that was just impossible.

I didn’t want to go through the sea of pain that threatened to pull me under.

I didn’t want to go through the roaring whirlwind of fear and anxiety that threatened to toss me about.

I didn’t want to go through the thunder rumbling in the sky all around me, loudly proclaiming I am just not enough.

I just didn’t see a way through when I stood blinded by the storm raging around me.

So sis, if you are standing in a storm, how do you take one step forward, how do I take one step forward? How do we move when all we see are crashing waves, one after another with no end in sight?

It reminds me of the Israelites and Moses. I picture them walking toward the Red Sea. A sea of uncertainty, with nothing to keep them afloat but a promise. I can just see them following Moses to the shoreline, looking out at the immense power of the crashing waves. They’re standing there sandals soaked, their spirits conquered by the plan that looked to be a dead-end. With the Egyptian soldiers coming toward them, their dreams of a new beginning seemed lost in the sea that stood between them and freedom.  I love their first response, because I would have done exactly the same thing. They decided it was time to turn back. Time to give up. This situation was impossible.

Because the Israelites could not see a way through, they were willing to go back. Back to pain, back to suffering, back to slavery. There was no way to break through so they broke down.

Sis are you like me? Do you find yourself standing at the edge of a sea. Are you hoping the water is warm and inviting and in the very same moment fighting the impulse to turn back because searching for a way through takes hard work. And some days it’s just plain exhausting.  We are willing to give up the promise of a new beginning because fear relentlessly whispers in our ear there is no way through.

Oh dear sis, I invite you and me to cling to the words of Moses. They may just keep us afloat in the wonder and worry of what tomorrow holds. “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today…The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13,14

As I read these words I realize God asks me to just stand still and watch. I have to laugh as I have seen Him go before me and work throughout my life so many times I have lost count.  But somehow, I still fear I am on my own. Do you do that too?

If only I could remember to depend on His promise that He will fight for me.

There is no fear in the future if I believe He is my rescuer.

Okay sis, Here’s the big finish…

When you look up and see there is no way through. You’ve hit that wall of waves. You’ve stepped into the deep end. You’ve fallen into the darkest storm.  Grab this life-line.

“Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters–a pathway no one knew was there!”

Psalm 77:19

The Psalmist tells it like it is! God’s road leads through the sea, His pathway through the mighty waters….and it was a pathway…NO ONE KNEW WAS THERE.  Once again, it’s a trust issue. The way through was there all along.

Ah, now that’s a sweet break through!

Here’s my prayer for you sis…

Father,

Forgive us for forgetting your promises. Forgive us for fearing the future You have planned for us. The same future that holds the assurance of love and life alongside You. You have gone before us and come behind us and stand with us, so we will declare we can go through. We can go through whatever sea threatens to overcome. Because Lord we know You have cleared a path. Even a path we don’t even know is there. So Father, we will take one more step, a step toward You, trusting you are standing with open arms ready to guide us into the new beginning You have planned just for us.  And we will praise your name in that very place! Amen.

 

Sis, can we agree on this?

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My Dear Sis,
Have you ever looked back at disagreements? Wondered how you got to that place and how it grew into something so much bigger than it really was?
I remember once my sister and I argued over a stuffed giraffe for the longest time. She remembered it was her Christmas present and somehow, I remembered it was mine. We never did find a way to resolve that question because even mom couldn’t remember for sure. So, we just had to laugh about it and go on.
Could we even keep count of all the little arguments over the years between sisters? All of them small and insignificant and forgotten. We saw things different, and it caused an unsettling for a bit. The disagreements didn’t hold any power because the strength in our sisterhood was bigger.

Love was the best defense to overcome the offense.

I look around today and wish for more of that. If only we women could see our differences and recognize how very small and insignificant they are in the expanse of our lives and our world.
If we could all be like sisters and see the very things we have in common, how would our lives be different? How would our world be different?

If we could hold the hand that has held a child, would our hearts beat in rhythm as mothers?
If we could hold the hand that has held their mother’s hand as she breathed her last breath, would our hearts beat in rhythm as daughters?
If we could hold the hand that wiped away the tears of longing for love, would our hearts beat a rhythm as sisters?
Could we be sisters who agree that the things that make our hearts break wide open are the very things that make them beat in complete unison?
In that deep place, we would find we are more alike than different.

I want to find that place in the women of the world and expose it. Let the air and the light and the goodness breathe life into it. Let it bring healing and acceptance and yes even deeper understanding of all the ways we stand in the same places. Crying the same tears of regret, sorrow and even joy.
Oh, Sis. Could we gather together and find the common denominator to bring peace in a world that loudly proclaims different is too much to overcome?
When we meet some girl, some daughter, some mom could we reach outstretched hand, open heart and ask her to help us understand? I don’t believe there is any difference that divides if we are willing to listen and lean in and learn.
In order to discover truth, we will have to kick fear out the backdoor. We will have to kick out our cluttered understanding of who they are and who we are too. We will have to stand with open arms, open heart and open mind.
And in those wide-open spaces we will start to inch closer, one step at a time, one story at a time. Before we know it, there will be a circle of sisters, hand in hand, heart beating in rhythm because love is the best defense to overcome an offense.
Yes, sweet sis, it’s the first step toward healing the broken relationships in our world. Will you take it with me?

Love,
Your Sis in Christ
Karen