Doin' It Halfway Since 1996

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

Tag Archives: Sin

The Battle is Already Won

I don’t want to write this post. I am choosing to obey and write it anyway. If you read to the end, you’ll understand why.

About two weeks ago, something in me changed. A friend from afar emailed me. She noticed something in my facebook statuses. I had been trying to lose weight. And I had been mentioning it and talking about it and posting about it for awhile.

This beautiful friend saw through the joking and the starting of diets and failing of diets and starting and stopping of exercise plans. She saw my hurt. She saw my shame. She saw my brokenness. She saw me.

She saw these numerous, but sporadically placed, status updates and sent me an email. She shared something with me. She gently, but lovingly shared her own testimony. Then she gently and lovingly pointed out that I have an addiction.

An addiction to food.

I read her message and I cried. This dear, sweet sister in Christ, who I haven’t seen in years, looked past the computer screen and thousands of miles and she saw my heart. You know who you are. I know you’re reading. And I thank and praise God so much for you.

She didn’t just point out my sin. She offered hope. And answers. And encouragement.

The truth is that I’ve been turning to all the wrong places to be full. I’ve spent half (maybe more) of my life obsessing about food, obsessing about needing to lose weight, obsessing over what people thought of how I looked. It’s what inspired the post “Dear World.” It’s what inspired the post Take these Broken Vessels.”

If I have to be truly honest with you, which I have promised to do, dear readers, it’s that I’ve been broken for many, many years. Over something as fleeting as appearances.

My dear, sweet friend offered this hope in the form of an online Bible Study.

Setting Captives Free.

The Holy Spirit, through this Bible study, has revealed not only my sin of gluttony, but also the sins of vanity, of disbelief, of laziness. It’s made me stare my sin nature in the face. It’s more than just losing weight. It’s not about another diet or exercise plan that I hope I can follow through with, but ultimately know I’ll fail. It’s about feasting on the Word of God. It’s about throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).

Maybe you don’t have an addiction to food. Maybe you struggle with something else. Setting Captives Free has studies geared toward other addictive behaviors like cutting, smoking, alcohol/drugs, anorexia and bulimia, gambling, and sexual purity. It costs NOTHING. Just like grace, it’s free. Just visit the site. Watch the video. Pray about it. If you know you’re supposed to sign up, you will.

This whole process has been refining. It’s hurt. It’s been difficult. It’s been excruciating. It’s also been freeing. It’s been redeeming. It’s been an opening of the book that reveals the love story written for me before time began.

It has been an invitation to fall back in love with my Savior and feast on the words he gives me instead of the food I’ve allowed to numb me. It’s believing that the redemptive work he did on the cross covers the sin that has been revealed and has already overcome it.

I’ve written this because it needs to be shared. I still have several weeks until I finish my study. But I couldn’t wait to share this. Someone has been a slave to sin for too long. Someone needs to know that they aren’t alone. Someone needs to know that there is hope. Someone needs to hear that his or her value comes from Christ alone.

So that’s all. I’m spent. It’s hard to confess this to the Lord, let alone the world. I just can’t hide in the dark any longer. It’s lonely there. It’s depressing there. I was NOT created for darkness. He created me to be salt and light. And in order to do that, I have to be exposed.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:19-21

Will you walk in the light with me? Will you be willing to expose your heart?

If you want to comment here, please do. If you do not feel comfortable sharing here, you may send me an email. If you decide to embark on this freeing journey, I would love to pray for you.

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Dear Lord. Take these broken vessels.

Dear Lord,

I broke up with the world last week.

It was kind of messy. And now I’m a mess. Because I keep wanting to go back.

I’m tired of all the broken vessels I’ve collected that clutter up my heart. Will you please take them away? I can’t seem to let go of them. I’m trying to secretly hoard them.

But nothing’s a secret to you.

You see the most secret places of my heart. You have for years, even if I have tried shoving all my messes into them and closed the doors to hide them.

But you’ve been opening those doors. All the messes are spilling out onto the floor. And you’re making me look at the pile of crap on the floor, the things I’ve tried to hide, tried to ignore, tried to forget. A bunch of broken, shattered, worthless vessels.

And those vessels won’t hold anything. The load of my sin and the world has cracked them to pieces and they’re useless. I’ve been using them to collect putrid water from the world’s cisterns, thinking it would quench my thirst. Those vessels never held anything of value or worth. Or satisfaction.

My wretched soul cries out for your mercy, your compassion, your grace, your intervention. Because I can not do it myself.

So take them. Throw them at the bottom of the deepest sea. I want them no more.

Give me strength to not grasp for them again. Keep me from trying to swim in after them, and in doing so, drown in the sea that is the broken world in which I live.

Make me a vessel. Let me go to the spring of Living Water and be filled.

And satisfy me completely. Let me feast on your Word. Let me never thirst again.

Thank you for loving me enough to discipline me. Thank you for loving me enough to make me stare my sin in the face and confront what has been eating away at my soul. And thank you for the grace you give, that has already overcome.

Amen.

Jeremiah 2:13: My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Psalm 90:8: You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Isaiah 30:1, 12-15, 18-22 : (1) “Woe to the obstinate children,”  declares the LORD,  “to those who carry out plans that are not mine,  forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,  heaping sin upon sin;

(12-15) Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message,  relied on oppression  and depended on deceit,  this sin will become for you  like a high wall, cracked and bulging,  that collapses suddenly, in an instant.  It will break in pieces like pottery,  shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,

(18-22) Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;  therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

Grace for This Moment; Grace for Eternity

I hesitate to write this because it’s not pretty. It’s downright ugly and muddy. But it’s real. And I need to write it because I need to hear it. Maybe someone else does too.

I’m having a less than stellar parenting day week.

There are a lot of changes going on inside my heart right now. I began a Bible study that focuses on a certain area of my life with which I struggle, a lot. And while I’m finding it encouraging, I’m also finding sin’s greasy fingerprints on every area of my heart.

And as I deal seriously with one sin in my life (or rather, allow the Lord to have access to that part of my heart that I’ve tried to hide from him for so long), I find others grasping to take its place.

Like anger. I’ve been angry this week. I’m angry that I’ve been so stupid and run to all the wrong places to try to resolve this sin in the past. I’m frustrated that I’ve lost so much of myself to it. I’m mad that I’ve been so blind for so long.

But this anger comes out at every little annoyance. And when you live in a house with three little girls, there are many little annoyances. Things have been said that should never have been said in tones that should never come to the surface.

I’m finding myself apologizing to my little ones for losing my temper, asking for their forgiveness. And they do forgive their wretched mama. Their hugs and kisses and I love yous are healing, salves for my soul. May the Lord bless their forgiving and resilient little hearts.

I keep hearing the phrase in my head, purposeful parenting. I keep thinking of all the Type-A’s I know out there who seem to be purposefully parenting their little blessings and doing an excellent job at it. I wonder why I can’t seem to follow suit.  Some Most days, I feel so behind all the time. There’s always something to be done and not enough time to do it all.  Some Most days, my children find themselves at the end of my priority list.

And I’m wondering why. I’m wondering why my little blessings from God get my worst when they should be receiving my best. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair to me. We are all being robbed of the joy of the mother/daughter relationship. I’m being robbed of the joy that comes from doing the job ministry God has given to me.

People, I NEVER do things perfectly. NEVER. And when I do things decently, it’s only by the grace of God.

About a month ago, something my pastor said during the sermon really stuck with me. He was talking about how God gives us grace to deal with conflicts. That he protects us in the moment. He quoted 1 Peter 1:3-5:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will NOT fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (NASB)

And so I wrote it down. And then I taped it to my cabinet.

And I put my new motto above it: Grace for this moment; Grace for eternity.

Isn’t that what life for a believer really is? Moment after moment after moment, covered in grace. Sometimes we focus on what’s to come and forget that right now is the foundation for what’s to come. Life, lived out in faith, can come only to the conclusion that it is sustained by grace.

My sister sang “In Christ Alone” at her church this weekend. It’s one of my favorite songs. And one that helps me to remember that “sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.” Click on the link and listen. The song is powerful and encouraging, especially when you have days like I’ve had today . . . the days that make you feel less than stellar.

It doesn’t matter the situation. It doesn’t matter the person. It doesn’t matter the conflict. It doesn’t matter the circumstances surrounding whatever “it” is. It’s all covered by grace. Each moment that we live, each moment that has already passed us by. Covered. By Grace.

I’m not a perfect person. I’m not a perfect parent. But my best and my worst are covered by grace. YOUR best and YOUR worst are covered by grace. I’m going to rest in that today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And for eternity. I hope you’ll join me.

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