Monday, November 24, 2014

laying down my rights

Real Talk: I almost didn't post this. Even while writing this I am debating whether or not to actually let others see this. But this is what it is all about, right? So I lay down my right to independence and say that I am "inter-dependent" and that I need the Body of Christ. So without further ado... here is the struggle.

Grace, you need to be independent. Grace, never trust anyone. Grace, relying on others is weakness. Deal with things on your own. These are your own issues so figure it out.

I have a right to be independent. There is no reason to have to rely on others. My life, my problems, my secrets. I have mastered the art of transparency without being vulnerable. My life is an open book, but the secret is that I’m still struggling. I can tell you every story. I don’t mind you knowing that I have had issues. Yet I hold on to the right to appear to have it all together. I don’t want to admit that I cannot do things on my own.

For a long time I decided that my wounds from the past are my own to try and fix. I put bandaids on top of deep cuts. I temporarily cover these things even though they need surgery. It doesn’t even bother me to display the wounds as long as I maintain a facade of having been healed. Never allowing these things to heal properly because of the fear of being hurt even more. Even to God I try and brush it off and say that it isn’t that bad. I deny my need for any assistance. These are my issues. These are my problems. I must deal with them. It is my right to deal with it however I desire.

But the reality is that my life is the Lord’s. It is not my right to hide the pain. It is not for me to decide how to bandage, clean, and then heal the open gashes. I used to have this idea that being numb to the pain meant that I had healing from it. I suppressed memories and told myself that if I didn't think about them then I didn’t have to confront them. But Christ tells me to come to Him even though I am weary and weighed down. He gives me rest. He sustains me. He guides my steps.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

So… My name is Lindsay Grace Bigler. I am not my own. I struggle with feeling discouraged. I struggle with battling lies. And my Jesus is strength even though I’m weak.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Father Heart of God

Father Heart of God week
*Disclaimer - the things that are in quotes from God are feelings/impressions that I got while reading. But this is what I learned...

“God, where were you?” “God, why did this happen to me?” “God, how does Your character play into my story?”

Jeremiah 31:3- The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Isaiah 43:1 - But now, this is what the LORD says - He Who created you, Jacob, He Who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.”

In the midst of these questions, I was given those two verses. I was created with purpose. I was formed by His hand, flawless. I am not to fear because His perfect love has cast out fear. He has redeemed me, He has bought me with a price, and I am new. He summoned me, by name, intentionally. I am His and He wants me. His love never abandons me.

Where were you? Crying beside you.
Why did this happen? It has been redeemed.
How does Your character play into my story? I am good. I am drawing you to Myself.

A friend came up to me and told me to read through the story of Esther. My initial thought was, “Esther, the cliche story of commoner becoming Queen, saving the people…” But I listened and later read through the story again for the who knows how-many times asking the Lord to show me something new even though my mind said it’s just the same story.

I didn’t even get through the first chapter before the Lord began to speak to me. Now the first chapter of Esther is talking about the King and him throwing a big party and then later calling for his queen, Vashti, to come out and she refused. So the king banished her and then began to search for a replacement. I always just assumed that this was in there to simply set the stage for  Esther and her story. But this is what the Lord decided to use to speak to me.

He said, “Grace, you are not Vashti. You’re not banished. You are never going to be replaced. I have given you desires to be different. I am drawing you to Myself with love and kindness. I am never letting go. You don't have to live in fear of being cast away.”

Then later in Chapter 2, Esther is brought before the king. After initially being brought before him  it says in verse 14 that “She would not go in to the King again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.” This brought me back to the verse in Isaiah. The Lord has summoned me by name! Why? In this verse in Esther it says the king summoned her by name because he delighted in her.

“Grace, I chose you. I’m not going to banish you. You have so much purpose. I chose you by name, because I delight in you.”

Esther later goes to the King in boldness even though it could cost her her life. But because the king loved and delighted in Esther when she entered the court room he extended out his scepter to show that he gives mercy. The Lord loves us so much that He extended Christ to us. This breaking down every wall. So God, how does Your character play into my story? You’re redemptive. You are merciful. And because of this, amidst my mess and questions you called me. You chose me. I know that in You I will never be rejected. You are the Rock that I can cling to and that will never let go even when all else does.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week 5 at DTS

Week 5 topic: Relationships
Setting: Coffee shop

I'm going to be honest, this is not the "sermon" that I wrote for that week... I didn't feel like it was something I was supposed to share here. That being said, I wrote the following simply for myself to help process that week as well as week six (which we just finished). So this is a raw heart exposed about relationships, the Father heart of God, and identity. This is me.

I refuse to let my life be dictated by pain
I will not allow my identity to be characterized by lies that drain
The bitterness harbored within has no place inside
my heart is being remade, the old self has died
for my life is no longer mine
I have given it to Him to define

I decided the truth is that I am wounded
That is who I am, I will never be included
I am only the worst words I have been called
the healing process is forever stalled
The repressed memories always leak out
I am controlled by assumed truths and doubt

Too many times I have been hurt
Too many times has my heart been inert
My life is too much of a mess
I can not bring myself to forgiveness
Why call me to more
I am merely a different version of who I was before

But as He called out who I am
Washed and remade by the blood of the Lamb
I saw with new eyes
the offenders lives
they too
are being made new
Their lives have value
Because of what Christ chose to do

So now I have new definition
no longer stuck in a place of friction
I am called out by a mighty Voice
called out by choice
He says that I am not the same
I do not have to alone endure pain
He gave me a new name, no longer just a mess
I am a redeemed work-in-progress

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Week 4 DTS

The Week 4 topic was Biblical Worldview and we were challenged (more like required) to write as if we were talking to complete strangers on the street corner. So that is the context of the that week's sermon...

How can God love me?

This question has swirled around in my mind. At one point the answer may have been, because I am a pretty good person. While at others I felt as if there was no way for Him to care about, not to mention love, me. So how could God love me? God is perfect. I am not. God is holy. I am not. How can holiness and my wrongs or “sins” be together? How can His perfection and light be with my sin and darkness? One simple word can put me in the wrong. One gust of wind, one wrong breath and I have set the arrow so far off target that I have missed the mark, sin. One lustful glance is the same as adultery. One harsh and shame filled one has set my destiny. Not because God is cruel but because Light simply cannot tolerate darkness. I deserve punishment, death. So is that the answer to how God can love me? He can’t? It could have been, but God has so much love. He has so much compassion. He came to earth, He lived a life that was completely void of sin. People were healed by Him. He was perfect. Then people got angry, officials said it was too good to be real, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want Him to shift society. They took Him before a court and forced a death penalty. He was nailed to a cross. Without fault, blemish, or wrong He was killed as the worst of criminals. So God tried, He tried to love me. But being God that was not the end! Death could not contain Jesus. The Grave could not hold Him down. My Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive and seated as God in Heaven. His perfect life and power over death made a way for me to washed of the stains of sin. He made my darkness into light. My life is no longer my own. Galatians 2:20 puts it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Knowing that God loves me changes my life. It transforms so much. I have faith and Christ takes my faith and makes me right with God. But in return, how can I love God? How can someone like me love Him? My life is so broken, but Christ is the Redeemer. In my life I have gone from depression to love simply because Christ has bought me from death with His own life. I can now walk being filled with love, joy, peace, kindness, and so much more. Not on my own account but because of how much God loves me.