Posted in Christian, Life, ministry, Scripture

Perfectly Imperfect

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.  It’s not the result of anything you’ve done,
so no one can brag about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (GW)

Recently, I signed up for a portrait drawing class. This is way outside of my comfort zone. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. However, when it comes to drawing I don’t even come close to being perfect. So, for me this is quite the humbling creative experience.

For the very first lesson, the teacher instructed us to draw a portrait with our non-dominant hand. The results were quite humorous – to say the least. My drawing resembled the doodlings of a toddler. Then she instructed us to draw the same portrait with our dominant hand. I would really like to be able to tell you that there was a dramatic difference. Unfortunately, my portrait drawn with my dominant hand might actually have been worse than the one drawn with my non-dominant hand.

I was surprised that the lack of perfection in my artwork didn’t agitate me or make me decide to quit the class. I actually had the opposite reaction. I felt like all the pressure to perform perfectly had been lifted from my shoulders. I was now free to enjoy the class.
To listen. To watch. To learn. To create.

A majority of my life the drive to be perfect has stolen the joy out of many moments. In fact, I often didn’t even attempt to do things if I didn’t think that perfection would be the outcome. But my biggest perfection stumbling block was in my relationship with the Lord.

I bought into the lie that I had to be perfect before I could ask the Lord into my life. For years, I tried to get my act together in all areas. I kept saying, “Once I have _____________ fixed in my life. Then I can seek the Lord.”

That mentality doomed me to the perpetual cycle of always putting off starting a relationship with the Lord. In fact, if I had continued to believe that lie I still wouldn’t know Him at all! Thankfully, the Lord put a person in my path who showed me that God wanted “imperfect me” to seek out a relationship with Him. And technically, since I can never be perfect my waiting for perfection was a futile endeavor.

Once I decided to reach out to God, in the midst of my imperfect life, I discovered joy. The joy that comes from being loved unconditionally whether I am perfect or I am an imperfect mess. Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect to be in relationship with Him. He simply needs us to humble ourselves by reaching out to Him even when we know we can’t be perfect.

It was a huge eye opener when I discovered that the Lord didn’t love me more when I was perfect and less when I was imperfect. For the first time in my life, I could be vulnerable in a relationship. All I had to do was reach out to the Lord and hold His hand as we walked through the imperfect mess that was my life. And the amazing part was that as I walked with the Lord He began to heal those areas in my life that were holding me back from the His joy.

Now that I don’t approach a relationship with the Lord wearing performance based blinders, I am free to be truly loved by Him. It is much easier to receive His love knowing that He loves me perfectly in my imperfection.

Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Random Thoughts

Where the mind goes…the man follows.
Joyce Meyer

The other evening I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in which the crew was visiting a planet where random thoughts (especially violent thoughts) had been banned.  Someone ran into one of the crew members who then had a violent thought of pushing the person back in retaliation.  That one random thought spread a string of violence
throughout the community.

While here on our Earth our thoughts don’t spread like that.  However, our thoughts can lead to actions that result in behaviors.

Most addictions begin as thoughts in our minds.  We think about the object of desire to the point of obsession.  Our thought obsession then manifests itself as an action.  When we repeatedly indulge in that action it becomes a seed for behavior.  That behavior gives birth to the addiction.

Before I was born, my dad was a prolific smoker.  He had begun smoking as a teenager.  He continued to smoke until the day I was brought home from the hospital.  He had a pack and half habit (behavior) per day that ruled his life.  He never let his pack of cigarettes out of his sight.  He bought his cigarettes by the carton.  The moment his carton got down to one pack of cigarettes he panicked.  No matter what time of day it was he had a compulsion to go buy another carton of cigarettes.  Even if it was the middle of the night he would drive around looking for a 24 hour store that sold cartons of cigarettes.  His thoughts of what would happen if he ran out of cigarettes drove him to take action.

While you might not be able to relate to the thought progression that rules the life of an addict, I’m sure you can easily think of something that has popped up in your mind that caused you to take some form of action.

Have you ever had something come up that has made you worry? (e.g. a scary diagnosis, strange symptoms, loss of a job, etc.)  It seems like the harder you try not to worry the more you do worry!  It is a known fact that a state of constant worry leads to stress which can cause all sorts of
emotional and physical problems. If you don’t intentionally focus your mind on something else you will most likely continue in your action of worrying becoming more and more stressed.

Needless to say our thought lives are very important.  The good news is that when you became a Christian you were blessed with a transformed mind. (Romans 12:12)  That means that you no longer have to be
conformed to your old way of thinking!  A transformed mind means that instead of thoughts of worry you can have thoughts of peace that Jesus will take care of you.  And thoughts of peace will lead to lower levels of stress in your life. The end result of your new peaceful thoughts brings you to emotional, physical, and spiritual healthy behavior.

Yes, that is often easier said than done.  But what you can do is recognize when your thoughts are going down the path towards worry.  At this point make an effort to think of something other than worry.  God knows your heart and thoughts.  He will honor your effort to stop following after the negative ones.

Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Your Song

And I am the One Who wove the lyrics and the melody into the fabric of your life.
So, My child sing My song.
~ Jeanie Miley

I think of each of us was born with a unique song in our hearts.  It is the song God intended for us to share with the world.  That song that dwells in our heart is nurtured by the way we love and the way others love us.  Over time the notes of our song join together to form a melody that we sing as we live our lives.

In a perfect world everyone’s heart song would flourish.  Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world that tries to steal our songs before we have a chance to sing.  Sometimes others actions rob us of our songs.  Sometimes our own actions steal our songs.  And sometimes it is a combination of others actions and our own actions.

Regardless of whose actions are to blame many of us are walking around with our heart songs silenced by the pain that we carry.  Here is part of a poem I wrote quite awhile ago that talks about the seeds of song in our hearts:

…The fertile soil of my heart watered
my seeds of song as they sprouted
Leaves reaching for the light of love
Blooms spread open in song.

Then one day a shadow stranger
Paid a visit to my heart garden
He blocked the light of love
Stealing lyrics from my song blooms.

The stranger crushed the petals
Blowing their dust from his hand
The lyrics scattered on the wind
Lost to my heart’s perception…

The scattered petal dust of my song
Awaits the return of the light of love,
Who has the power to change petal dust
Into the seeds of song once again.

As I re-read that poem, I thought how the “shadow stranger” could be an addiction, disease, depression, an unhealthy relationship, a lost job, or any number of negative circumstances that cause us to stumble in life.  While the stranger is determined to destroy what is good in our lives he is not ultimately successful.  Because the “light of love” has the power to heal what was destroyed and make it whole once again.

That is the hope we can have in the Lord.  He is the “Light of Love” that heals us…making us whole.  He is the One Who takes what has been destroyed and makes it brand new!  The Lord is the One Who gives us our new song to sing.

He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3 NLT

Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Flaming Heart

In my devotional the other day, there was a great quote from Mary Lou Retton:
“Heat is required to forge anything.  Every great accomplishment is the story of a flaming heart.”
I grew up spending my summers in the woods.  I know all about the logistics of starting a fire and keeping the flame burning.  I can even start one without matches.  (Well, technically, I haven’t done that in years, but I’m sure it would come back to me.)
To start a fire, without matches, you must apply enough twisting pressure to a piece of wood to create a small spark.  Once you get that faint smoking, you have to add more fuel (wood shavings, moss, etc) to get a burn going.  Soft breaths will fan the flame causing it to grow.  Once you’ve got the “starter” burning, you then place it on a pile of kindling.
The kindling is essential.  It is these small pieces of wood that allow the larger wood to catch flame.  In order to keep a fire burning, you need to have a steady supply of wood.  This wood supply is what you will use to feed the fire to keep it flaming.  If you starve your fire, you will end up with a small burning ember – a fire barely left alive.
I must admit that there have been times in my walk with the Lord where my heart was just a burning ember.  These were the times when I was just “too busy” to spend daily time with the Lord.  I had so many things demanding my attention each day that I let my time with God slide away.  I’d spend an hour or so with Him once a week at Church and then basically ignore Him the rest of the week.
I’ve come to realize that there is a correlation between the amount of time I spend in relationship with the Lord and the size of my heart fire.  I don’t want just a burning ember in my heart for the Lord.  I want a flaming heart!  Yes, this takes some effort on my part, but it is well worth it!
In order to create a fire and keep my heart flaming, I have to add fuel to the spark that the Holy Spirit has placed there.  Reading God’s Word, going to Church, doing Bible Studies, and being in fellowship with other believers are all “kindling” to start that burn going in my heart.  I need to stay in relationship with the Lord so that I have a surplus of kindling and wood available to feed my heart fire.
If you want to get your heart flaming for the Lord, I encourage you to come to one of our Tuesday Evening Healing Services or join us for some of our weekly activities at the Glennon House.
Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry, Uncategorized

Powerless

The other day the power went out at the Church.  Thankfully, the Glennon House power stayed on.  The only problem is that our internet access comes from a server that is located over at the Church.  This means that we didn’t have access to any of our files.

In essence, I was powerless to do any work that depended on the computer.

This made me think about how most of my life I had gone through life depending on my own strength.  As you can imagine, I often ran out of steam or didn’t even have enough power to get started.  That’s because I wasn’t created to run under my own power.  I was created to receive my strength (power) from the Lord.

When I didn’t know the Lord, I was a lot like my work computer that couldn’t connect to the internet without the Church’s power.  I could function, to an extent, but I couldn’t function to my full capability.

I tried for years to get my life together both mentally and emotionally.  Under my own strength, the “togetherness” never stuck.  It wasn’t until I turned to the Lord, asking for His strength, that I was able to live a life that even resembled togetherness.  It was His healing power at work in me that gave me the strength to make the needed changes in my life.

The same was true when I tried to beat my addictions.  As an alcoholic, I quit drinking on numerous occasions.  I was hospitalized for alcoholism as a teenager.  I attended more AA meetings then I can count.  I did everything humanly possible to stop drinking.  Sometimes I was successful, even for years at a time, but then something would trigger the underlying wound that drove me toward alcohol and I would fall off the wagon.  This cycle went on from the time I was sixteen years old until I was in my thirties.

Then at the age of thirty-three, I turned to Jesus.

For the first time in my life, I was able to begin to experience true freedom in the area of addictions.  The lesson I learned about relying on God’s strength began to bleed over into other areas of my life.  I soon realized that the times when I felt most drained were times when I was trying to do things under my own strength.  I was not created to go through my life under my own steam.  I was created to draw my strength from God’s power.  He will supply the power I need to walk through life.

So the angel explained that it was the following message of the Lord to Zerubbabel:  I am the Lord All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit.
Zechariah 4:6 (CEV)

Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

The Gospel of Downton Abbey

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12 (NLT)
Downton Abbey, I miss you!
For those of you who don’t know, Downton Abbey was a British mini series about a great manor house at the start of the 20th century.  Thousands howled in despair when it ended last January. I was one of them.  I’ll miss the great costumes, the ridiculous manners, the food, the wealth, the scene-chewing drama, the wonderful Christian theology—
Wait, what was that last part?
Yes, believe it or not, Downton Abbey, provided one of the best examples of theology on TV.  Here’s why.
The show started when the expected heir to the Downton Abbey estate died suddenly (on that pesky Titanic, no less).  Because of English inheritance laws, the title and wealth of the estate passed to a very ordinary young lawyer who actually worked for a living.  Oh, the scandal!
Instantly, this very ordinary young man became the Earl of Grantham.  He did nothing to earn his way into the powerful British Aristocracy.  Certain people didn’t think was good enough to be a proper Earl—he even used the wrong fork!  But that made no difference.  By law he was the Earl of Grantham, heir to all the rights, wealth and power of that the position.  Nothing on earth could change that fact.
Becoming a Christian is just like that.  When we are found by Jesus’ love, we instantly become the heirs of God’s kingdom.  We don’t earn our way into Christ’s family.  And, though certain people might not think we are good enough to be proper heirs, it doesn’t matter.  By the law of the new covenant, we are the adopted sons and daughters of God.
When I face discouraging days, when the black just gets blacker and I know that even Jesus can’t bear to look at a complete screw-up like me, I remember that very ordinary man who became the owner of Downton Abbey.  Whatever I feel, the truth is that I’m God’s child. I’m accepted, adored, redeemed and loved by the Creator of the Universe, and nothing on earth can change that fact.  Even if I use the wrong fork.
Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Spiritual “Do Over”

The other weekend, I was looking for a movie to watch on Netflix.  As I scrolled through the selections, I saw quite a few movies about adults who went back in time.
The common theme of all these movies was that adults had an opportunity for a “do over.”  They still had the mind of an adult, but they now had a body of a teenager.  Most of the movies were about the adult making better choices.  Once they made that better choice they were able to return to being an adult.
The concept of a “do over” is obviously popular since there are quite a few movies with that theme in them.  This made me start wondering if I too would like to be able to go back and make better choices in my life.  I can honestly say that at one point, I probably would have jumped at that opportunity.  Today, not so much.
I realized that through inner healing at the Glennon House, God has already given me a spiritual “do over.”  While I didn’t physically go back in time, my memories from my younger years have been healed.  This healing has allowed me to reconcile with my past.
When I first came to the Glennon House, I thought that I would be burdened with my poor choices my entire life.  I had the incorrect assumption that I would have to pay for my mistakes the rest of my life.  In fact, a part of me believed that I deserved to be punished, for as long as I needed to be punished, to atone for my mistakes.
Thank goodness, that’s not how God works!
God didn’t want to punish me for my mistakes.  He wanted to heal me mind, body, and spirit.  In essence, He wanted to give me a spiritual “do over” so that I could be set free from my past.  Working with a trained Prayer Minister, I asked Jesus to help me forgive myself and others for those times in my life that had caused me such pain.
Those areas in my life, where I received inner healing, were the times that I had wished I could go back and relive over again.  If I had been the movie character,
suddenly becoming a teenager, those areas would have been what I fixed.  Thankfully, I do not have to become a teenager again to have those times in my life healed!  I just have to ask God for His healing.
If there are areas in your life where you would like to have a “do over,” I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for inner healing.  Let God give you a spiritual “do over” so that you can be set free and be made whole.
I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert.
I will make rivers on dry land.

Isaiah 43:19 (GWT)
Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Reference Point

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to realize yet again that the Lord is my Healer.

Someone asked me this question the other day, “Are you so tired during the week because you are drinking or doing drugs on the weekend.” (paraphrased)

My response was to chuckle and tell them that “No,” I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs on the weekend.

I found the question humorous because I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in over sixteen years and I haven’t done drugs in twenty plus years. I realized later on that maybe I should have been offended that the question had been asked. Yet, I wasn’t at all! It was a valid question. I was an alcoholic and drug addict for many years.

I wondered why I hadn’t gotten offended. That’s when I had an epiphany. I wasn’t offended because the Lord has truly healed those areas in my life. The Lord showed me that this incident is a great baseline to use for revealing where I might still need healing in my life.

I don’t know about you, but there are still some areas in my life that need healing. Granted a majority of the “big things” that needed healing have already been done by the Lord. There are still some smaller areas that the Lord is continuing to work on with me. I now have a sort of reference point for discovering those areas.

If an area is unhealed, I tend to have a negative emotional reaction when someone questions me. I might get hurt, angry, or frustrated when they ask me about that area. Instead of simply being able to answer their question calmly. In other words, if my buttons can still be pushed God probably wants to do more healing in that area. My job is to recognize that I need healing and then seek it.

As we say at the Glennon House, “Sometimes healing is a process.”

Not everyone is healed or cured instantaneously. God has perfect timing. He knows how much we can handle and when we are ready to handle it. He also helps us to recognize the areas that need the healing He wants to give us. The incident I just experienced is a perfect example of that. He showed me a tool I can use to know when I need to seek Him for more healing. And that my friends is a true gift!

 

Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Desperate

A while back. I found myself at a not-so-healthy place. I was increasingly becoming aware of the junk I had in my life that needed to be trashed once and for all. My eyes were being opened to the spiritual bondage I needed to be delivered from, though I didn’t even remotely know how to get there. I found myself in a constant battle with self-control and indulgence that kept leaking into every other area of my life.

Eventually, I confided in a friend who had recently experienced breakthrough in her own life. After I was done confessing all the spiritual strongholds I couldn’t get rid of, she looked at me in the eyes as she boldly spoke out “Janae, if you really want it, you’ll get it.”

And that was that. It was the vaguest, not-so-nurturing, easy offense taking statement that cut straight to my core.  She was saying if I really wanted my healing — if I really wanted deliverance — I’d find it.
And I did. I finally found the breakthrough I was looking for, though some days it felt like I sweated blood and tears, while running in circles trying to get there. Eventually there was a release, and I’m fully convinced it’s because I was desperate. I was willing to go to any height to see breakthrough in my life, even if it cost me everything.
Desperation can be a great impetus for change.  Desperate people are willing to take desperate measures.   For example, the woman plagued by the issue of blood in the Bible.  That woman was the epitome of desperation.  She risked everything in order to get to Jesus that day.

Picture it with me:

This woman had been bleeding for twelve lingering, fearful, drawn-out years.  Due to strict Jewish law, she was forced to live a life of utter isolation.  She would have been considered unclean during this entire length of time.  By walking into a crowd of people, who were most likely bumping into each other, she was making each person unclean in the eyes of the law.  This means that she was desperate enough to risk being stoned in order to get her healing from Jesus.

After twelve years of spending all of her money seeking a cure from Doctors only to discover that they had no cure for her, she risked her life to touch the fringe of Jesus’ robe.  The law told her she couldn’t touch, yet she knew that the only way she could be supernaturally cured was to touch.  And she was desperate enough to do whatever it would take to get her cure.
Her desperate act of faith is what led her to being cured.
Not only did she get healed from her illness that day, but she came into her new identity as Jesus looked her in the eyes and said “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”  This woman was willing to go after her breakthrough no matter the cost.
It wasn’t until I was desperate enough to do whatever it took that I was set free from indulgence and lack of self-control.  My desperation drove me to walk through that time of sweating blood and tears to the freedom that Jesus had for me.  Taking that risk to reach out to touch Jesus for my healing was the best action I ever took.
So, I now ask you the same question my friend asked me that day.
“Do you really want your breakthrough?  If you really want it — no matter the time or cost –Jesus will help you find it.”  And once He helps you find your healing, He will set you free!
Posted in Christian, Healing, ministry

Soap

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NLT)

A friend of mine has created a line of organic soaps. Nowadays she ships all over the country, but in the beginning she handed me a misshapen soap bar she’d mixed up on her kitchen stove. “I had to be very careful to cook it long enough to burn off the lye,” she said cheerfully, “or it would have burned your skin off.”

Needless to say, I was not enthused about using that first bar.

It also got me thinking about soap. We take it for granted, but this lowly household product is actually created by a sophisticated chemical process involving fatty acids and high heat, yielding a product which makes insoluble particles soluble in water. Basically, it destroys the molecular structure of dirt and grease so that they can be easily washed away.

Note the process: Soap destroys dirt in order to wash it away. First destruction, then cleanliness. You cannot have one without the other.

Spiritually, God’s Holy Spirit works in much the same way. Before I came to know Jesus I was absolutely caked with dirt—the residual sludge of brokenness, disappointment, spotty doctrine and rationalization. Sadly, there was even a part of me that was proud of my dirt, because it was MY DIRT, darn it. It wasn’t easy to watch it wash away.

But as Christ’s love gently dissolved the gunk surrounding my heart, I realized three things. The first was that clean was better than dirty. Seems obvious, but this was a huge revelation for me. The second was that getting clean made me realize just how yucky and smelly I’d become. My spiritual nose had become used to the stench of my sin. As Jesus washed me clean, I had to face my spiritual stinkiness, and had to confess it to God.

The third thing was heartbreaking. I had friends—good friends—who did not support my cleansing process.   As Paul wrote to the church of Corinth two millennia ago, ‘to those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom’. My conversion appalled them. They knew and loved my dirt-caked self. They could not relate to me as a heaven-smelling person. We walked away from each other, and I still miss them.

Soap destroys as it cleanses. So does the blood of the Lamb. Still, I highly recommend it. Anyone who has caught a whiff of ‘Christ-like fragrance’ knows there’s no sweeter smell. Clean is better than dirty. I guarantee it.