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Our bottle of tears…..

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Beloved, our Father God watches over you and me. His heart is tuned in to our cries, He hears the deep anguish of our spirit, He sees the burdens and wounds our hearts carry…. Our tears are precious to Him, stirring His very heart causing Him to respond to our tears.

There will come a day when our Heavenly Father will come for His children. He will embrace us in His comforting arms and He will forever wipe all our tears away .

And I wonder, will He show us those bottles of tears He has been collecting?

Will He whisper to our hearts~ “Do you see this bottle here? These are the tears you cried… You see my child, you were never forgotten or abandoned, you were never forsaken or left on your own. I heard your heart, I saw how broken it was, I felt your tears and I was there all along, comforting you.”

My friends, do you know that our tears speak a special language to the very heart of God…..

He loves you….He loves you….He loves you…. so let the tears flow… and know that our Father God cares for you intimately and with great passion beloved….

For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9

Isaiah 38:5 “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.”

Job 16:20 “My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God.”

Psalm 56:8
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

Psalm 126:5 “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.”

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What’s your name?

 

מחול = forgiven

חנינה = pardoned

לחוס = spared

מכוסה = covered

 

This morning during my quiet time with the Lord I came across this verse in Revelation 2:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”

This verse really spoke to me about my identity; what do I believe about myself, and do I believe what God says about me, and to me…..what is my name….. All too often I am still held captive and bound to the lies I have believed.

 Our enemy, the devil, is the accuser and he often uses others to generate his alias identities over us. Maybe like me you were called names at home by those who were supposed to protect you and care for you, or maybe you were teased or bullied at school, or maybe you are in a relationship and the person who professes to love you continually puts you down, calling you names…no matter where or by whom we’ve been labeled, all too often we take on the names we were given….maybe we even find ourselves repeating these very names to ourselves. Many of these labels where placed on us through deep wounds from our own wrong choices in life, and  the wrong choices inflicted upon us from others

We don’t do this intentionally but names can be prophetic declarations that can define a person’s identity. Why, because we can act according to who we believe we are, we can eventually act out these lies in our behavior.

It has been said that we respond to our environment according to the way we see ourselves. Words spoken to us and over us become the names we carry in our hearts, often painting a photograph of ourselves in our imagination and becoming the lens with which we view our world.

The enemy gives us names in order to disempower us. How many of us have spent too much of our lives playing by his rules because we have believed the wrong name? How many of us have acted out of who we believed we were.

I grew up in a home where fierce jealousy and anger were displayed openly. Yet the very one who was jealous of his wife was the one who lusted after other women and flirted openly in front of his family. It sent mixed messages to me and the other women in the family….as a young girl if I painted my fingernails I was considered trash…yet when I would see the women he flirted with they most always had painted fingernails. Too many women, who are called a whore for no reason as young girls, simply because they are female, can quite often spend their lives struggling with immorality.

Throughout Scripture you will find many people who were insignificant until their names were changed. Simon wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Peter. Saul wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Paul. I like the story of Jacob in Genesis 32 where we find him wrestling with an angel of the Lord. The name Jacob meant deceiver and we see that indeed he acted out his name. But when he encountered the angel his name was changed to “Israel” which means “a prince of God”. The new name released him into his prophetic destiny.

I read once that “grace as well as disgrace is released by name calling. Grace is the operational power of God…grace is the God-given ability to become what we couldn’t become before we received the declaration. Whereas disgrace, also has the power to release curses from the dark side.”

And this brings me back to the verse in Revelation. It is very important that we all hear the name the Lord has given to us and allow that name to define our identities. When we get to heaven we will be given a new name written on a white stone that only we will know!! This name will be birthed from a foundation of purity (white stone) and intimacy (no one will know it but you and Jesus). We will need a new identity that is fitting with our new calling.

As I’ve continued through this study on Grace for the Good Girl; letting go of the try hard life, I am finally coming to know the truth in my heart that I am good because I have received a new heart and a new mind. (Ezekiel 36:26; 1 Cor. 2:16)

When I received Christ as my Lord no longer am I a sinner….no longer do I need to struggle with being good enough, or trying to always do the right thing, because then I am still putting my faith in my ability to fail instead of His work on the cross.

I could spend the rest of my life living under the curse of my old name or names, or I like “Israel”, can receive my new name that has the power to alter my very DNA.

When I fail or make a mistake I don’t need to beat myself up because I am just not good enough, I can quit striving to get it right, and I don’t need to run and withdraw from life because it is just too hard….because this is where God’s grace and mercy come in. No longer do we need to remain trapped by the names imposed on us by others, the names we  take on ourselves, no longer do we need to feel at a loss for identity.

Grace is God’s ability at work within me, not my own strength or ability. I am a daughter of the King and when our Heavenly Father looks at me and looks at you, He sees the image of the Son he loves!! That is Amazing Grace!!

I hope that you will take a moment to watch this video short clip from Kary Oberbrunner based on his book Your Secret Name; discovering who God created you to be.

Your Secret name

Love is His unbreakable promise!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything here and it’s been for a variety of reasons. Partly because I’ve been so busy with the usual things like work and family but also because I am still settling into our new home. But probably the main reason that I have taken some time away from the blog is to pray and seek the Lord as to whether or not I should continue writing….and if I do continue then what direction should I go, and what does my Heavenly Father want me to share now since I’ve shared most of my story up to this point.

So after much contemplation I’ve decided to carry on for awhile and share more of my daily journey, where I am in my walk with the Lord and this season of life I am in. I hope you will join me in this journey and share your thoughts and hearts with me.

I read something the other day about powerlessness that I found to be very profound. Powerlessness seems to be my “Achilles heel” so to speak. This is the area that I continue to grapple with, that I’m still growing in. Even now I still seek to fully understand and find my way through it.

 Author Gregory Dickow says, “Powerlessness is the root cause of all negative feelings and emotions. When we feel powerless to change the past, we feel guilt; when we feel powerless to change our present, we feel depressed; and when we feel powerless to change our futures, we feel afraid.”

As I meditated on this quote I thought about how God has brought so much healing to the wounds and scars left from my past of abuse, rejection and abandonment. God has let me know His love and grace, He has given more than I could have ever imagined.

So many memories prevented me from accepting and knowing His love for me; memories that blocked my ability to experience His love and acceptance. My life seemed weighed down by guilt. And although He has brought healing I am still on a journey of discovery, being set free and learning to walk in His victory….free to know in more than my head, but to know it in my heart that I am truly His Beloved!!

I love the word “Beloved”….It is His term of endearment that says to me, to us, that we are His, we are special to Him…..it is a love that has no conditions attached to it….Love is His unbreakable promise!!!

Making peace with our past….

I’ve been away from the computer for awhile as I’ve been in the middle of a move. We are all settled in now and I hope that time allows me to write and share more of what is on my heart….where God continues to lead me.

 This morning my heart is somewhat heavy.  I have so many mixed emotions, so many thoughts and not sure how to process them all. If you have followed my story you will know that I was raised by my aunt and uncle….they were the only parents I’ve known.

My uncle passed away several years ago and last night I received the phone call that I knew would soon be coming and I’ve been expecting. My aunt passed away peacefully last night. Strange that even though one expects it we are never really prepared for it. I confess that at the moment when I received the news my eyes welled up with tears but that was a far as they came. I never wept, or gave way to grief. I sense it is in there, but for now I am just allowing the Lord to help me process my heart.

This past summer I was able to spend an afternoon with my aunt. It was a healing time, a joyous time even. We didn’t talk or rehash the past instead I chose to let it all go and focus on the present…. I sensed that she, knowing her time here was limited, was making peace with everyone….with me, with my daughters.

Because of this time together I can honestly look back without regrets. I’ve made peace with my past, with my relationship with her, with what wasn’t and what was. God has healed so many hurts and wounds and He truly restores the years the locusts have eaten. He has blessed me beyond what I could have ever imagined.

In the wee hours of this morning as I reflected on where I am today I am thankful that God has walked this path with me. That He has shown me His love, healing and kindness…..that because of Him I can walk in victory and freedom….because He is the lifter of my head I can walk with confidence and in love….I can look back on this relationship with my aunt, this fractured relationship as it was, no pretense, no judgment, and no condemnation, with forgiveness given and forgiveness sought….and I can’t help but wonder if sometimes who we are today and what we offer to those around us, the legacy we are leaving to our own children and grandchildren, is not because of what we were taught, shown or given but just maybe because of what we never had….perhaps we learn and grow from what we’ve not had or been shown rather than in spite of it.

A Scripture keeps coming to mind as I write this is 1 Corinthians 1:26 to 29 “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world; things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

 As a child I was powerless, I was counted as nothing to my family, yet God did not see me as I saw myself or as others may see me…..As it says further down in verses 30 & 31; “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”

Christ makes us pure and holy, and He frees us…therefore we can boast only about the Lord…and that is truly what is in my heart today….Jesus is the One who is my healer, my refuge, my counselor, my advocate, my victor….He alone is the lifter of my head…He allows me to leave a different legacy than the one given to me…He changes our legacies and gives us a new song, a new story, a new life….He is God and He is good!!

As I lay there this morning in the predawn my mind went to my grandchildren, and the joy I feel when they wrap their little arms around my neck to give me a big hug…. and their little voices are music to my ears as they delight because their grandma is here… God has given me a new song, a new legacy….I am thankful…and I am at peace…..

Why I chose Tamarshope….

I have been asked why I chose the name Tamarshope as a pen name for our blog….well, I chose Tamar for two reasons. The Tamar that comes to one’s mind first is usually King David’s daughter. The horrifying facts of Tamar’s experience- not only the rape itself but the effect it had on her future and her emotional well-being- are not too far from the experiences of many women today, including myself.
But praise God that He has the power to restore our hope and to heal us.

But I also chose Tamar as a reflection of the other Tamar, found in Genesis 38, again in Ruth 4:12 and Matthew 1:3. I have learned a lot from this Tamar as to what it means to be an ezer.

In John Eldridge’s book, “Wild at Heart” a woman is described as a maiden waiting in a tower for a man to rescue her- a description that has troubled a lot of women. Tamar turns the tables. She is an ezer-warrior who rescues men. She carries out a stunning rescue of Judah’s two dead sons with her twins, Perez and Zerah. She saves both Er and Onan from extinction, despite their wickedness.

As I have studied Tamar I have been amazed at her strength, she wasn’t called righteous for her quiet and gentle spirit. She was righteous by being strong and assertive. She confronted Judah for turning his back on God’s covenant and her courageous actions led him back to God. He called her righteous.

Judah gave Tamar the highest marks for her conduct and accepted her righteous rebuke. Her actions didn’t emasculate or feminize him. She didn’t rob Judah of his manhood. To the contrary he became a better man because of his encounter with her.
I wonder what would have become of Judah had Tamar held her peace and remained passive?

She has expanded my understanding of “ezer” and in her I see that the strength of a woman is a powerful weapon for rescue, healing, and peace when women like Tamar are “strong in the Lord”. She is an ezer and expands the range of the ezer’s influence beyond hearth and home to encompass her father-in-law and God’s covenant with his people.

Although her tactics would not work today, the principles she represents do. How do we today as God’s Daughters live for righteousness in our relationships and circumstances?

And so like both of the women called Tamar, it has been and continues to be my prayer that my heavenly Father would plant something new in my life, a sprig of hope that will set me on a new course. And He continues to help me live in the present, spending my emotional energy on this moment rather than squandering them on regrets about the past or anxieties about the future.

 I am like Tamar, because the beauty of my story is in God’s power to bring positive from negative, to bring good out of tragedy, and blessing out of less than honorable events.

These women in the Bible give me hope, because Jesus loved these women. And like these women God also invited me, out of the shadows and into His arms, He called my name, and gave me a new name~Beloved~

I was thirsty and He gave me His living water, He called me to live. He takes me in His arms and draws me close. And as I learn to dance in the arms of my Lord I go where He leads, turn where He directs, follow in His footsteps, and grow in His love….

Jesus is my living hope…He took me by the hand and walked me out of the dark and into the light….no longer afraid…but rather He continues to offer me hope… for healing and for freedom….because in the arms of Christ I am given grace, dignity, peace and a righteous confidence. Because I finally see that since the day I was born, God has been passionately in love with me…and His invitation is life!
“I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.
I will heal you.”
2 Kings 20:5

I am His Beloved!

He has made everything beautiful in His time.

I try and go for a walk every day in our city park, but today was different…today it wasn’t just for the exercise it was for my soul…today I chose to walk at a slower pace deliberately seeking some tranquil moments…because I realize it’s only when I quiet the clamour of the outside world that I can hear the whisper of God’s voice giving me new direction.
This day the sky was overcast & grey, it felt dreary as I walked. It matched what I was feeling inside……not depressed, just tired, weary, and battle worn.
I longed for some reprieve, for some sunshine….as I walked my thoughts turned to the Lord as I desired to commune with Him…but today, no words came…all I could say was Abba…and the moment I said Abba, the clouds parted and the sun shone through in all its brilliance marking the path ahead of me with light…..a magical tranquillity took over.

Although the trees were a canopy of green covering me and offering their shade and beauty, the sun was able to penetrate even the thickest foliage and coverage. As the sun created a dappled effect through the trees I saw what I had been too busy in my thoughts to see before; the lush ferns and undergrowth shone many brilliant shades of green, the birds were singing the sweetest songs, and wild daisies and clover waved in the gentle breeze, and the smells were alive- there is nothing like the smells of a forest tickling the senses.
I stopped by the gently flowing stream and stood with my eyes closed listening to the sound of the comforting water flowing. It was here the Lord spoke to my heart….and I heard Him. All sights and sounds faded as my Lord whispered to my spirit. He asked me to bring my heart, my disappointments to Him. He asked me to lay at His altar the expectations I have of myself to always be strong realizing instead He desires to make me into a woman of strength…and there is a difference….would I allow the disappointments in my life to strengthen me and teach me to respond to life in a loving and forgiving manner?……would I allow Him to whisper words of hope and encouragement into my ear that this season shall pass?
As I quietly laid at His altar my disappointments and striving and brought them into the light of His promises and blessings I reconnected with my Abba again…striving~ugh, I detest that word~am I the only one who ever strives, will I always battle need to strive, will it always be a struggle?- but Lord I asked, didn’t I lay that at the altar years ago?…again His whisper- “yes daughter, but there are always new seasons with new expectations and demands, new problems and pain, yet with every season there is new hope….just as the sun comes up every morning, even though sometimes it is hidden by the clouds, each day will bring you a new ray of healing and renewed beauty”…… as the soothing sounds of nature surrounded me and the water lapped around the edges of the river bank I sensed the Holy Spirit washing over me. I felt like I was being cleansed and a new feeling of well-being washed over me as this Scripture came mind, “He has made everything beautiful in His time.”

And then Jesus asked if I would trust Him in this confusing, often lonely season? Would I trust those I love to Him? Would I trust that He knows my future and that He is good and trustworthy? Would I trust Him to redeem this season, to bring beauty and goodness in the midst of it and out of it? I said yes to the questions in my head…but I asked that He birth it in my heart as well….

….I took my time not wanting to go home and back to the busyness of life, I wanted to savor this moment…and then when I did finally get home; it is no coincidence that this was what I read in my devotional: “If you are in great pain right now, I want to encourage you to hang on. Just as a new day dawns every twenty-four hours, there is also an unshakeable promise that your pain will turn into joy, and your ashes into beauty. Some pain is with us for only a season, and if we persevere through it, we will recognize that God does have something glorious waiting for us-even in this lifetime. Can we trust that the different seasons we go through God will redeem, that some He will use to teach us something, some He will use to bring our healing, some are for building our character, while others are simply painful…but we must believe there is also a season of blessings and beauty. The Scripture was Eccl: 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in His time.”

“Abba, thank you for all the wonderful promises that gives us hope. I praise and thank you that this life is not all there is, and that you have wonderful plans for our lives- not just the here and now, but in the glorious future that You have already prepared for us. May we see each incident in this life through the eternal perspective of Your promises”
It is when I pause in the busyness of my day and look up that I see the sun breaking through the clouds and I get a glimpse of the glorious sky…I see the luminous blue summer sky once more….
It is when I quiet my heart long enough and look heavenward that I hear Him speak and become aware once again of the majestic magnitude of my God, the Creator of heaven, earth and my soul. When I quiet the clamour of the outside world I can hear the whisper of God’s voice giving me new direction and hope. He sustains me.