Every change brings a shift – smaller or bigger

DSC09795I’m packing boxes and thinking. These are not boxes of my own this time, but for other people to send their stuff after them. This work is very familiar. During my life we have moved countless times before kids and with them. I have also helped people to move, wrapping their stuff into boxes, packing their furniture and move them from one place to another. I have helped some churches to move. I have been part of founding them. And not just physically but also on the paper. And I have also been the one to shut them down. I should probably run a business like this by now. But I don’t and probably won’t.

Every move shifts something in our lives. Something will always end with the move. And something new will start. Even if you don’t move too far from the place you are living. It just happens. With the move, some doors will close and others will open. These boxes I’m packing now indicates a total shift for me. Everything shifted by our move and by these boxes. It feels like my ‘old’ life ended and my ‘new’ life started. For most of the people around me it all looks the same. But it isn’t. Everything has shifted even though the location changed only 4 kilometers. It all shifted in the realm not seen.

One friend used to say ‘to really see you have to change your position sometimes’. I thought I knew what it meant, but now I at least know more than I used to know. My eyes have opened totally and what I’m seeing is Life before me. Just few months ago, all I was focused on was everything else than Jesus. I thought it was all about Jesus, but now I realize it was still about ministry, me, my destiny, my call and my future. My focus and my effort were for all that. I didn’t see it and my intention was to serve God.

Truth is that all that comes before God is an idol. If it’s a program or ministry or what do I get from this or how this will open the door for me or is this going to take me into my future, it’s an idol. Behind those thoughts is me, not God. If I put all my trust on Him and I really live in Him trusting that He will do  all good for me because I love Him, I don’t have to worry about my future, my destiny, my tomorrow. Those all are in Him and under His control.

The more I’m packing, the more I’m getting free. Yes, I’m having tears in my eyes on some days. The last season was full of great things and experiences. It was full of many things I had dreamed about. It had a hope of the open door in it. And especially it had a friendship I never thought I would lose. I do go through emotions, but that’s human side of me. Alongside of my sad emotions I have joy and peace. I know I’m exactly where I suppose to be. I’m in the right place and in this right place I know God is with me. I don’t have anything to show to anybody. I was part of the ministry. I was a leader. I was a teacher. I was a chair man. That’s all gone and I am not that anymore. Any of it. But there is freedom to be me. Those things used to define me. I tried so hard to be all that and more feeling always I wasn’t quite enough to be any of them. Not that it was said to me. It was this internal feeling inside of me, which forced me to try more and to strive. Now I have to learn to be me. I have to find what means to walk through every day life without any props to prove anything to anybody. I know it’s very good place to be, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Yet, it’s actually the best place to be with the Lord. And there is freedom to meet new people. And let them know me, not me as a minister, as a leader or as anything else. I see richness in it. It’s not always clear and sunny, but I see Life.

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On the other day one friend said to me. “I see how you are growing as a leader.” Those words hit me a little bit later when I was thinking something else. She knows my situation and she wasn’t saying it at all to make me feel good. She knows I’m not a leader of anything right now. But what she said to me was about my nature. It was something greater than I have heard in awhile. And it did make me smile. God is doing His work in me and for that I don’t need anything else than Him.

Some thought for today. If there is change going on your life, just know God is there with you. Trust Him and don’t be afraid. I keep hearing “go with the flow”. And I believe it’s for you as well as it is for me now.

Thought of the year 2014

That’s the thought of the year for me. Many things have defined me during my life. Being a mom. Being a wife. Trying to be the person of the call. Ministry. Expectations of other people. Just to name a few.

At the end of the last year I realized that I wasn’t the person I thought I was. Most of the decisions I had done were either SONY DSCbecause of unrealistic expectations I had for myself or because of what other people said or thought I should do. I realized that I had lived most of my life thinking that I’m the one who is wrong if someone is. If there was a disagreement I was to blame. I didn’t question those whom I loved and respected. I thought even God would be on their side and if I disagreed I would be left alone. I didn’t see myself very valuable and I took all blame on me. Mostly I did it quietly and many have thought I blamed someone else. I don’t think people around me really knew or know how much quilt and blame I have carried inside of me. I never let that stop me and I have always kept pressing forward regardless of my feelings.

During my life many people have rejected me, starting from my dad in my early years. On the moments and times when I the most needed friends around me, they chose to leave and walk away. Perhaps they didn’t know how to handle the situation and it was too much. Or perhaps they weren’t real friends. I started to believe there is something very wrong in me and I myself ended up to reject me. I guess that was the worst thing anybody could do themselves. If I didn’t see myself valuable and important, how could anybody else. I hardened myself and pretended I was okay and would keep walking.

The last year was the hardest of all. In the end of the year I found myself alone. By alone I mean there wasn’t that dearest and closest friend next to me with whom I could talk and share my thoughts. Everything had shifted. At that moment I realized, I mean truly found that Truth that God will never abandon me, I felt freedom. My parents can abandon me. My friends can do it. I myself can do it. But He simply can’t because it’s against His Word and His Nature. Even if I run from Him, He won’t leave me. When I was sitting in that Truth Him revealing Himself to me in a deeper way than before I fathomed how unique and loved I was and I am. And how He really and truly created me to be me. I have thought and read and heard those words so many times over years, but even though some people around me looked for that they didn’t really give me room to grow in it. I knew in my heart that I can count on God.

One person few weeks ago told me that father is meant to help a child to grow her/his wings and to learn to fly. My dad never did that for me because he wasn’t there. I grew up without dad or any man in my life. When I heard it I thought how huge responsibility God has trusted for fathers. And how big is a chance that they won’t succeed in it. But the more I thought it the more I saw that no man can do it without God. And He is my Father to do it. Even if my earthly father failed, God will never fail in this or in anything else. He will help me to find my voice, to grow my wings, to spread them and to fly and soar. There is the voice in me ready to come out. It has been there all along, but I didn’t believe it. This year will be for me to grow my wings, to fly and soar, to find my voice and let it come out.

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Beauty of the Journey – it will get brighter

I’m driving to work almost every weekday. It has been this same road since August 2012. It’s 37 km to drive and mostly I’m just driving and thinking or listening something. This time of the year mornings are still dark and only things you can see are lights of other cars. By the time I have been getting off it has been twilight. But this week has finally been different. The sun has been up, sky has been clear of clouds, there is finally little bit snow on the ground and daytime is hour longer than SONY DSCit was month ago. Believe me, in Finland it makes a big different at this time of the year. 

Today while I was driving and view was phenomenal, I was thinking my own life. It has been dark, very dark lately. Mornings have been hard to get up, not just because of darkness, but because of heaviness I have felt. It’s easy to choose to start things new and it’s easy to say this year will be different than last year. And it will and already is. Totally. But change doesn’t immediately take away all you have gone through in life. Some things have to be dealt before lightness really comes.

SONY DSCWhen I was looking those remarkably beautiful frosty trees I was thinking how much I have beauty in my life. Yes, things has happened and they have hurt and tried to hurt me deeply, but there is still so many wonderful and beautiful things in my life which I just ignore too often. I could drive whole 37 km to home without seeing any of those trees OR I can drive and enjoy the beauty of my journey. I can see all variations of white and green in different lights. The more I see and recognize it, the more it blesses me and brings me joy. And that happens in my life too. I can ignore all goodness or I can see it and let it bring me joy. Life is multidimensional and even if I’m going through hard times I can enjoy my life and I can have joy and peace.

Too many times we forget this secret of life. And sometimes I personally want to forget it. Sometimes it would be so much easier just let it all go and just wallow in my own pain and circumstances. But then I would miss all the beauty. It is there whether I see it or not. It changes every day as this road I’m driving. It’s never the same. Everyday light makes it different depending on many little factors. One day can be cloudy and next day so bright that you need sunglasses. It can be snowing when I leave and before I get home sky can be clear and sun is shining. Everyday there is something beautiful if I just keep my eyes open. And whatever I go through in my life, I know God is with me and for me and His word is true and everlasting. His promise is that we go from glory to glory and all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according of His purpose. This is just a journey. I haven’t arrived and won’t in this time. But if my focus is on the end I will miss whole journey which is full of life with all kind of flavours. I have missed too much because my focus has been too far and because of trying to be something I wasn’t meant to. I thought I had it all figured out, but we don’t. God is God and we are human. Finding that place in Him as human brings me joy and peace and then I can enjoy my journey. I wish you can too.

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Time to go forward, but one glance over the past

In the beginning of the last year, 2013, I knew 2014 would bring a shift into my life. I didn’t know what would it be, but I knew it was coming. I had high hopes. There have been promises I have waited for so long and I was hoping that finally something would manifest in my life. But I didn’t know what year 2013 was going to bring with it and didn’t have a clue what kind of shift was waiting for me.

I have been married 26 years and all those years my husband has had an addiction. There wasn’t any third person between us, but this addiction was. I didn’t know it when we got married, but one day it was revealed and it hurt deeply. And it kept hurting me all years. You may ask why did I stay? Well, good question and I am not happy to say that reason was religion. I was taught that divorce is one of those mortal sins. I also made a vow when I was 17 that I would never divorce in my life. I wouldn’t let that happen to my children what had happen to me. When this addiction was revealed I was pregnant and I felt I was forced to stay. I didn’t have any way out. To stay wasn’t my choice, because I didn’t feel I had any options. I was ashamed to tell that to anybody. I felt I was in the prison.

I tried to ignore it. I tried to be a good Christian wife. We talked and argued about our relationship. There was no trust, just hurt and pain. He tried to cure himself and find some help, but it seemed nobody was either willing or able to help. And I wasn’t any better. My attitude was terrible. I still felt I didn’t have any other option so I took it all on him. I had a sharp tongue and unfortunately I also used it a lot. Hurt in me caused me to hurt him. I wasn’t happy and joyful, so I didn’t want him to be either.

During the years I started to know God’s love and grace and it took place of judgment and fire of hell in me. I realized that God wasn’t as I was taught. He was loving and He had good thoughts about me and He would never abandon me. On the time I was getting rid of religion we also hit a rock bottom. And because I knew God now I was ready to separate without any condemnation. Children were still quite young on that time, so we after long talk decided to stay together, but he promised to seek help.

Years went by, he wasn’t free and year ago we hit a rock bottom even harder than before. On the last spring 2013 he moved out and I stayed with almost grown-up children. We talked all through with them and together and I personally felt there wasn’t any other way to go than that. No promises anymore. No empty words anymore. In me there was nothing left to trust or hope. Staying wasn’t an option, but separating didn’t feel good either. I was overwhelmed by feelings like failure, shame, quilt. It brought ‘what ifs’, regret, which was deep. I started to think I was the reason for everything. What if I caused all this and his addiction and all troubles I was going through. What if I never got married? Was I truly so blind in the first place that I didn’t see or did I see, but ignored? I didn’t even know who I was. And even thought I knew God’s Grace I wasn’t sure if God really would stay with me and accept me if I took one more step and got divorced.

Some people around me were saying that I still had to give a chance for him. Others said that I should finally start to live my own life and be free from all pain and hurt and from him. I didn’t know who to listen and even God was silent. I cried, prayed, asked, begged the answer from Him, but didn’t hear anything. Other people were ready to speak into my life what they felt God was saying. I didn’t hear anything. So I started to listen and believe what they said and started to move toward divorce. On the fall I started to deal that in my heart and cut all off which was about him. We took three months when we didn’t talk or see hardly at all. It felt good and I felt I was free. During these three months we had quite great water damage in our apartment from above. Because of it there was great repairs coming and we weren’t able to stay there on the same time. We had to start to look other apartment but it wasn’t easy to find.
And we were in a hurry. We had to move as fast as possible so that they were able to fix all.

Suddenly there was this one amazing apartment in front of us. Big, but reasonable. Good location. Only thing was that I wasn’t able to rent that all by myself. There were two options: take this apartment and move back together OR move into something smaller we had with kids. (We already had too small apartment.) One friend asked me how it was possible that I changed my opinion over night. It was all God. I was getting ready to divorce and move on, but God stopped me. He brought this amazing apartment in front of us and asked if I would trust Him and give Him this year. He had been silent until this moment, but now He asked me to trust Him and have faith on Him. He reminded me that He told me in the end of 2012 this:

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So after this encounter with God I made a choice. I chose to trust Him, not man. I chose to put my faith on Him, neither on me nor on my husband. I simply made a choice to follow God and it meant going into this apartment and giving Him a chance. God asked me to see my husband as He sees him, not through my pain and hurt. Just to see him. God didn’t ask me to trust my husband. Just to see him as God sees and keep seeing that way.

With this decision I lost some friends, very good friends. I also lost a dream I thought was ready to take off. It was a price of my choice to follow God. Judgment and condemnation were there again. This time because I chose to build, not to destroy. It took me through pain and hurt again. I can only say that last year was one of the hardest years in my life. I think it was the hardest. Constant pain, hurt, rejection, condemnation, judgment was always there where ever I turned. Shame and quilt was next to me reminding about my mistakes and causing me to regret so many decisions in my life. But it also brought out me. In the end I realized that no matter what I do there will always be those who stay with me and those who won’t. I can’t count on people, not even friends, when it’s about my life, which I’m living. Only those who stay with me through ups and downs and really love me can really speak into my life.

In the end of year 2013 and beginning of this year I realized that all I had was shifted. Everything. My life wasn’t the same anymore. And that brought me peace and joy. I knew all would be great with God. We are still living a short of separation in separated rooms, but taking care of all together. There is peace in the house and we both are ourselves putting trust on God. We are not perfect, but human loved by God. We are building little by little. This is only thing, which is left. And actually even this has shifted. It’s a new year and it brought us into a new place, literally.

Forgive me this was so long. Most of you my readers and followers don’t know me, so I decided to write this to sum up where I’m coming from. It’s all past and I will continue only with the present and the future. It was the hard year and it didn’t dramatically change better on the New Year. There are still days of pain and hurt, but there are also days of joy and peace, which I didn’t have last year. I’m thankful. This is my life and I have learned it’s the best to live my life, not anybody else’s. It’s the best go on with my own expectations, not with anybody else’s.

Five Minute Friday: See

It’s Friday again. What a great day! The day of relaxation. The day to sit on the couch and watch some TV. I love Fridays. It’s a day and night when I can forget the pressure of my job and forget that I have to prepare something for the next week. It’s a day when I can just be with my family and with my grown-ups and forget all troubles those almost teenagers in my class have. It’s Friday and time to write on the new prompt.

Join in to the Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. The goal is to write for five minutes, unedited. Just write, let it flow, and then publish. No fear! 🙂 Then go and love those who wrote before you.

Here I GO

SEE

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For so many years I have believed what others have seen for me. I have listened and believed, built and pulled down as others have seen. I have chosen paths adviced to me. I have ignored and put aside what I have seen because I was told so long “You can’t see right” and “You just don’t get it”. I believed the lie even when those didn’t really make sense to mee.

I started to see things through my pain and through my expectations. I saw things as I assumed they were, not as they really were. I started to see things against me, not for me. It got me negative and bitter rather than positive and thankful. My pain and hurt were deep and it was hard to forgive.

Until God stopped me and asked me if I really wanted to see. He asked me to see through His eyes, not through man. He asked me to trust that I was able to see. It was up to me, He was willing. I decided to step into Him to see as He sees and to leave behind everything else. Suddenly I couldn’t help but forgive those who had hurt me. I saw His Grace for me and for others. At that moment I knew there was no going back, but going forward even if others around said I was going back.

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Click here to read what others have to say about “See”.

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It’s Finished – what’s my part then?

iPhone 001Is it really that simple? Is it really true that I don’t have to add anything into the finished work of the cross? Or that I even can’t add anything? If that is true where it leaves me? It seems this is the hardest part for us. Grace is amazing. But we can’t comprehend it by ourselves. It needs to become a revelation to us and only person to reveal Jesus Christ and what He has done for us is Holy Spirit. If we try to figure it out there is always a part which we try to do or add into it. But there is really nothing we can do for it’s already done. When Jesus died He cried out It is finished! That means it’s finished, completed, done, paid. And if something is finished, completed, done, you can’t add anything into it. There is nothing left for you to do, right?

So what’s my part in this then? Is there any part for me or am I just existing in this all? If it’s about relationship shouldn’t there be something for me to do too? Isn’t there two parts in the relationship communicating together?

Yes, there are some things for us to do. BUT remember always, always source is Jesus Christ and His finished work of the Cross, not us. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Everything has been created in Him and through Him. He is the starting point and everything ends into Him. But we are inside, in this all with Him, not outside nor spectators. We are the active part, but even if we aren’t it’s all finished for us. It’s already done for us, we just enter into this finished and completed work and become the active part of it and it all benefits our life.

So what can we do then? First we believe it and receive what He has already done for us. Our faith doesn’t complete the work Jesus did for us, but it kind of activates that work for us. All what has already been completed and finished will become part of our lives.

Our life in Him is a journey. It’s once done all for us, but for us to really live in His reality it’s a journey where we learn and grow in Him. Holy Spirit reveals us what is this finished work of Christ and who we are in Christ. We may hear the words but if those words don’t become real to us and Holy Spirit doesn’t reveal them to us, nothing really changes. As we believe so we live. And what’s in me, comes out from me. Either God’s reality or mine. The more I’m learning to know Him, Jesus Christ, the more my thinking is changing and His reality is becoming my reality. 

When we have received and our thinking has changed there will be natural respond to God. It’s not that I first love Him and then because of my love He will give me this greatest gift. No! He loved me first and I’m only responding to His love for me. I’m in Christ and living His life and when He is my source His life will bring fruit in my life which is that natural respond. I can’t make any fruits by myself. It’s all His work in me and in my life.

Jesus said in John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well “If you know the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would gave given you living water.” Jesus was talking about Himself and who He was and IS. He gives living water. When I receive the Truth about Him as Scripture has said His life will flow from within me.

So let me put this all into simple three words – receive, repent and respond. Not to earn or to get what Jesus did for you, but to be the active part in this divine relationship with Him. Then simply rest in this reality and relationship. 

My Journey

This morning God spoke to me whole way to work. I’m driving every morning little over half an hour to work out from Helsinki area. It’s a very nice ride to the country side and very peaceful too because everybody else is going into Helsinki while I’m driving out.

Back to this morning. When I left home, it was very foggy. I was actually sure it was also cloudy, so thick the fog was. You couldn’t see far and it made everything mysterious. It has been clear for weeks now and the sun has been shining every morning. So fog created a very different atmosphere.

When I started to drive and moved from our parking lot, I actually saw that the sun had risen and even fog was so thick it was hard to see the sun, it was there. I had to take a picture.

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And God spoke to me. All those years when I was under religion and quite legalistic His love and grace and finished work of Jesus Christ was there with its fullness ready for me, but I couldn’t see because all my thoughts, all teaching I had heard, all quilt and shame kept me in fog. Light I saw was dim and felt being so far away. But what I thought and believed didn’t diminish power of the Cross, I just didn’t know it.

When I kept driving the atmosphere suddenly changed. It wasn’t little by little, but it simply changed. One moment fog was thick and light was dim and next moment it was almost clear. After coming out from that thick fog it at least felt so.

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But the more I watched the sun the more I realized that the fog was still there. It wasn’t as thick as it was earlier, but it wasn’t clear. And that is our life. When I really learned about grace and the finished work of the cross, I thought I new it all and I got it. But truth is it was only the beginning for a great journey and adventure with Him and in Him. Learning what it really means and learning to live in Him, in Christ, in His life. And not just learning but also unlearning. Unlearning all teaching I learned under legalistic sin-focused teaching which made my bound and left me feeling quilty all the time. And even though that light seemed so bright first, the more I walked with Him the more I saw I really didn’t know Him. But the greatest thing is He is looking forward to teach and reveal Himself to me and to you.

Proverbs 4:18 says “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

It’s journey where we will be learning more and more. We are growing in Him and none of us has arrived yet. There is this foundation, the finished work of the cross where Jesus did it all for us and only thing we can do is to receive it. We can’t add anything into it. It’s not about us, but about Jesus Christ and what He did. It’s free gift for you and me.

When I arrived to my work, sky was clear blue and sun was shining its full bright.The view was beautiful and there was no doubt about the power of the sun which will melt snow and ice and will finally bring summer. That’s the power of the spring sun. Did the sun, by us, when I left have less power than this which was shining over my work place? Of course not! It’s the same sun. It was there whole time with its all power and bright but fog was between me and the sun. That fog made me feel that the sun had less power and actually it didn’t effect to snow as much as at my work place. The fog did hinder the effect of the sun’s power and heath, but it didn’t take it away. The sun was there and the same, but how I was experiencing it by my home was different than by my work place. You see the difference? If anything puts doubt into your mind about the finished work of the cross, you are not able to experience the power of the cross. It can be quilt or shame or religious thinking or wrong teaching or you feeling you are not good enough etc. But that doesn’t change anything from God’s part. He is the same and He will remain forever and won’t change. He is trustworthy and He never leaves you. He is always, always there for you and on your side. He is not against you. Even if you feel that He is far, He is always near you.

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This journey will continue and we are walking from glory to glory to glory. Thank you for walking with me and be encouraged. You are accepted and loved!