Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Grace and Mercy Are Enough.....Guest Blog by Lyn Livingston

I am so excited to have Lyn Livingston guest post today. Her love for God and all his children is beautiful and her words of truth reflect her heart felt love. Please join me and welcome Lyn to She Stands. !! I know she will bless you as she has blessed me!!



I felt my heart break in half. A wrenching tearing pain signifying a part of me was no longer there.  I felt hot tears burning my eyes and rolling down my cheek. How did this happen?  How could I have lost a friend just like that and not understand why?
Laying the phone down, I held my face in shaking hands, crying out to God between sobs.  “Oh Father, Help me.” I cried. “Help me give grace & mercy, help me understand.  If I have done something wrong show me so I can ask for forgiveness.  Father I need you.”
When rejection becomes personal it develops into a relentless searing sting unlike any other. 
I will be honest, my first reaction was “What! How dare she? After all I did for her and now she is doing this to me.” 
Sound familiar? 
Before I could say the words out loud I caught myself.  I have a choice how I react.  I choose to go to my Heavenly Father first.  I prayed.   Jesus gave me a plan. I pursued a new way to stop the sting.
First, I presented my pain to God asking for forgiveness and understanding. Had I sinned unknowingly against my friend?
I recognized I needed to pray intently to gain understanding. 
The small voice within told me to give grace and mercy in order to understand. 
When my mind stopped focusing on my hurt my heart started focusing on compassion. 
I knew that my friend was overwhelmed.  Her father was in declining health and now on Hospice. She was consumed with the demands her husband’s recovery from major surgery and double duty in their home caused.  The decline in the oil industry had affected her employer and she was now fearful of losing her job.  Each could be overwhelming, together equaled devastation.
Even though I was supporting her with acts of love, and listening, her frustration at a misunderstood communication triggered her anger.  She was not open to an apology and I was unable to give her what she needed the most.  Trust in our Lord.



I began praying for her daily with intent purpose. I prayed with a grateful heart, praising Him for what he was accomplishing in her life and His faithfulness, asking Him for specific healing for her stress and that her heart would be open to forgiveness. 
Two weeks later her family asked.  “Is there anything you can do?” I learned she was pushing others out of her life too, refused to attend church and seemed angry at everyone. 
“I am praying for her.”  I said with urgency. At this point the battle wasn’t mine. Consumed with anger and frustration she was trying to balance a life where she had no control. Her attitude demonstrated a lack of trust, a need to dictate. I knew she would not listen.  I had been in those shoes too.
My friend had dismissed our friendship, eliminated God from her life, and displays anger instead of love. I know this is not her. The only thing I can do is pray, give grace and mercy and wait with hope in my heart.  I fought my feelings of not being enough knowing God is. I miss my friend.

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it the most.  Hebrews 4:16 (Voice)

I continue to pray concentrating on truth. Knowing Satan is using this opportunity to slaughter her identity in Christ and rob her peace.  I praise God for how He is working on her behalf. I know she will succeed.
I give grace.  Grace being the instantaneous forgiveness God gives with abundant love.  Grace, created in the blood of Jesus in the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.  By giving grace I am able to keep the sting of rejection away and focus on showing love following Jesus’ example.
I give mercy.  Mercy, the compassion and empathy of understanding her torment. I experienced my own battles with Satan’s malicious resolve.  I know how hard this battle is.  Mercy directs my prayers towards her needs, giving her strength and wisdom so she can begin to feel hope and love again.
Now, I wait with hope.  Hope she will return first to God and then to our friendship.  I wait knowing prayer, grace and mercy are enough. I am ready to act whenever I get the call to hold and support my friend again. 


Let’s Pray.  Heavenly Father in our time of need help us to give grace and mercy, depending on you for understanding.  When all we are able to do is extend grace and mercy, may we feel we are enough, knowing that through grace we honor Christ Jesus.  Through mercy we find compassion to love abundantly following the example of Jesus.  Be with us in our time of need renewing the spirit within us. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen        

Lyn 


Lyn Livingston can found at http://www.hisperfecttiming.com/blog/


"I look forward to sharing with you my journey and my insights.  I discovered so many things about my Heavenly Father.  He has always been faithful to me. Yes, even when I wasn’t faithful to Him."

Friday, November 11, 2016

My Cross Of Love



Love..... a word used to express  heart felt emotion; to express the importance of feelings towards something or someone. But what if I told you love is not just a feeling but a choice? Let that sink in for just a moment.........

How is that even possible? Real love is when we choose to love those who are set against us; those who are set against Christ.

It is easy to love those whose beliefs are ones of my own. It's even easier to love those who love me , treat me with respect and stand in agreement with me.  The difficulty comes in loving those who rage against me, speak words of destruction, and engage in behaviors that are meant to break me. I have even found it to be strenuous  when those close to me attempt to speak good in my life but yet pick apart my heart with their words not realizing the impact of pain they have now caused.

And yet I choose to love.

Years ago I asked the Lord to use me as a instrument of  His love and in more recent years I asked Him to let me see the world and those in it through His eyes. I found to be able to choose love and extend it the way my daddy God has called me to do I must to be able to see others outside of my own feelings and flesh made emotions. Seeing others through the eyes of God doesn't cause me to over look the wrong in this world; it does however allow me to see without hatred,  judgment, and slanderous words. I am learning to push through to see the root cause of the wrong not to excuse but to give hope for restoration.

And again I choose to love.

The more love I choose, the further He shows me the pain hidden in the hearts of others. A gaping wound whose only hope of real healing is love. I believe Mother Teresa said it best when she stated " If you judge people you have no time to love them."  I am in a place in my life when others do not understand my desire to love as God does I simply smile and continue to love them as well in spite of their lack of understanding.  My cross I carry is not always light. I have times of heavy burdens, wearisome emotions and questions that seem to have no answers; times when my knees buckle and my tears are many. No matter how many do not grasp the depth of love that has been placed in my heart, I do my best to keep my focus on the throne.

And once more I choose to love.

I stand in awe my request was granted and allowed to see the broken, the messy, the scorned, the judged, the abandoned and bruised through the eyes of my daddy God. Love that is chosen is the medicine required to heal the deeply embedded cuts in the hearts of man kind.  It gives hope where there is despair, it restores the lost and mends the broken.

He never promised the cross I carry would not get heavy, He promised I would not do so alone.


With the election over in our nation, there are those who are hurting. I encourage us all to extend love and grace in the midst of their pain. For those who see victory, I encourage you to not gloat but choose love...... real love. It is time to allow the love of Christ heal the wounds of our land.
Who among you are willingly to see past the pain, past the division , past the wounds and truly see all of Gods children as He does? 

 John 15:12
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

My cross of love............






His Daughter,


Stacey




Monday, October 31, 2016

Behold His Beauty



 Leaving for work I  snapped this picture from my front porch. The brilliance of the sun coming up and breaking through had glimmers of gold dancing across my front yard; such beauty to behold in the few moments I had before scrambling off to begin my work day. Perfection would have been for me to be able to stay and enjoy my morning coffee sitting in the rays of sunlight, however the brief moments I had were enough for me to be thankful for witnessing another one of God's beautiful moments of His divine artistry in the morning sky.

I began to think of the times when my life has been covered with "shade"; when it appeared to have no sunlight breaking through. And, on a larger scale, I began to reflect how the world has had its own shade of darkness covering its every corner ringing its cries for just a little light to shine.Creeping slowly down my driveway I realized had I kept my head down, hustled down the porch all I would have seen as I was getting into my car would have been the shade covering half my yard. I would have neglected to see the sparkles of light bouncing off the dewy grass and the breaking of a new dawn over the sky line. I would have missed my daddy God showering me with rays of hope in the awakening of a new day.

Many times in life I remained focused on the shade and missed the sunlight. I ranted and raved over the wrong; I allowed myself to be consumed in my own eye sight, I never saw the light of my daddy God breaking in to guide my path. It's was those heat of the moment reactions that held me within the shade and kept me from the glowing amber of sunlight.

God's beauty is very present in all things; even in the storms of life, his beauty remains.

Psalm 96:6
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I am seeing the sunlight clearly now in many aspects of shade.....

Where divison has raised its flag, the hearts of many are extending more love.
Where disaster has struck , thousands stand hand and hand with a courageous spirit of rebuilding.
Where lives have been lost, arms of hope and grace have embraced one another with a tender strength of compassion.

Behold His Beauty

Each morning I now make a point to stop, look up and see the sunlight dancing across my yard and thank my daddy God for the hope of a new day. Where my eyes once saw only the shade , they now gleam the light.




His Daughter,

Stacey



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Change My Heart Lord






 Heart......the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies entirety; supplying oxygen and nutrients to our tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Our physical life line; if unable to supply blood to our organs and tissues, they die..... We die.

 We all know the physical purpose of our heart. We are taught what eating habits and physical activity are best to keep our hearts functioning properly. However do we ever really seek how to keep the emotional and spiritual health of our heart at its best as well?   What do we do to guard our hearts  from emotional deaths; a death that causes our once soft, fleshy heart that held compassion, empathy, grace and love to become a cracked jagged and jaded stone? A stone that buries deep within the cracks the brokenness of our self worth and harbors the anger of our hurt others have pierced with their arrow of disdain.
 
Questions I find myself asking more often.
 
It's easy to become hard in a world filled with much hate and harmful banter; a defense created, justified and continues to be built upon.  It's difficult to extend grace, to be the one who bears the olive branch of peace, to those who cause  knee bending grief and uncontrollable tears. And yet is is through grace the stoney cracks of  hearts can be filled and healed. I do my best to forgive quickly however after searching my own heart, I too, have cracks that need filling. 
Childhood cracks, teenage ones, and adult cracks that have splintered portions of my heart and turned to stone.
 
"Defense mechanism? "  I softly whisper.  " But Lord, I have forgiven all who have hurt me."  I speak a little louder this time with a silent question mark on the end of my statement.
 The answer I hear deep within.............
Your heart has areas in need of change.
 
What changes? I am now talking to myself, literally, in awe of disbelief as I re-evaluate my heart.
 
He takes me back in time and shows me where I forgave out of obedience but allowed the cracks of stone to remain. I , once again, explain with a passionate tone,  I am guarding my heart ; I am protecting it from further damage. My argument has no solid ground with my daddy God. He has me look at what is flowing from the cracks of my  heart. ( His word does instruct me to guard my heart for everything I do flows from it.)  Proverbs 4:23
 
 In His infinite wisdom, He knows the fashion in which I am guarding my heart causes it to remain unchanged and it becomes a dying organ that can no longer receive love and grace.
I find myself in a place of spiritual grief and disappoinment. How could I not see this? Did I become so oblivious to the state of my own heart I ignored the cracks?
 
As I continue to have a one person argument with myself while spouting off what seems like a million and one questions................
 He speaks a promise to me.
 
Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you ; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
 
I am humbled.
 
The struggle to "protect" is real when guarding my heart. I know to become more of Him and less of me, my heart must remain of flesh and not of stone. To recieve grace in my own life, I must be able to extend it as well. To be loved within my own failures and faults, I must be able to love those in the midst of theirs. And I must forgive with sincerity and compassion not just from obedience.
 
I am forever grateful he never leaves me as I am.
 
His work in me continues..............
 
Change my heart Lord~
 


His Daughter,

Stacey


 
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Enduring The Process


I love this picture of McKenna. I have been blessed to know this precious young lady since she was in junior high school. She is now a wife and mommy of two beautiful babies. McKenna started doing cross fit when she was pregnant with her first child( maybe before? ) and has continued her fitness goals to this day. This picture is the first time she ever made it to the top of the rope. What an accomplishment!! It did not happen over night. It was not accomplished the first or even her second try. McKenna had to "endure" the process . She had to fight through the sweat and pain, the burning muscles and the constant desire to meet her goal. And met it she has!!

 I then ask myself.......
How do I press through a growth process?  When the pain is too much to bear and my muscles burn with the intensity of a boiling furnace , how do I endure?

My endurance comes from my daddy God;  a process of growth and strength training in the spirit.  It comes when I turn to the pages of my bible and encourage myself through His words......
His promises.

Colossians 1:11 
 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

Times when I need to climb a "rope" in my own life, regardless of it's height , every word of the Father is there to push me higher.  Should I be on my knees weary, my face buried in my pillow of tears or simply sitting in the quietness of my own, it is His words that enable me to endure the process.

Make no mistake there are times when I just want to let go, when the task seems too great and my strength has been depleted, I long for rest and completion. I have no desire to continue climbing.
I just want to quit. I look for a easy way out only to find myself circle back again to the "rope" dangling in front me telling me to latch on and climb. I am learning by ignoring the obvious and attempting to skirt around the rope  makes the journey of achievement much longer.  It is when I endure the process and remain steadfast it is then will I make it to the top. 

Our ropes in life can come in many different fashions. Maybe your rope is in the form of caring for a loved one who is ill; could be you are the one who is ill.  Or it may be a financial rope you are having to climb.. Possibly you are in a place of brokenness and in need of healing emotionally. It may be you are having to rebuild a business or home. And maybe you are dealing with a child who has lost their way in life through an addiction of sorts. Whatever the task at hand is that you are facing, I encourage you to keep climbing and don't let go.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 Not by my strength nor by my might but His.

I am enduring the process.

His Daughter,

Stacey



Philippians 3:14
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of  God in Christ Jesus.


* Photo Credit :  McKenna Campbell Miller*

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Wash Their Feet"...He Says.

 John 13:12-17
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


To wash the feet of others may not be what society considers serving in the year 2016, however in biblical times it was an act ones servant would do when guest where invited in. Jesus preforms it as a symbolic gesture of serving one humbly and unconditionally. He was setting an example not only for his disciples but for us today. What was considered a lowly human task the son of God himself did so from love.

I began to question what are some ways to serve others in my life. How can I "wash" their feet?  And then the thought that spoke swiftly to my heart.... "Do I truly serve those in need with unconditionally love and humble myself ?" 

Serving is..............
* Listening when I'd rather just fix the problem.
* Lending a helping hand when I feel like I am the one who needs help.
* Telling God to use me when I'd rather be rescued.
* Giving when I doubt I have anything left to give.
* Comforting by being a flicker of light in the darkness of others.

Truly serving others can be difficult. It can be painful and uncomfortable as we are moved from our own needs and comfort zone.  Many ,because of our own fleshy desires ,want to be front and center. We want to be on the receiving end instead of the giving side. Giving is work and sometimes the work is grueling labor mixed with blood, sweat and tears. But the ever so sweet side is when the one we are helping, the one who needs us to serve them, the one whose needs are greater than our own, witness the love of Christ through the hands of his children. For as long as I can remember I have asked God to use me as an instrument of his love; for others to see Him in me. 

 However, not once, when I have asked did I realize that in doing so I would have moments, days or even seasons of serving that would be hard in the flesh; a  period of time when the difficulties would out weigh the comforts and the struggles seem to be never unending. When I am called to help others, I find myself looking at my circumstances and realize by helping others, I am helping myself. And the reality proves my situation isn't as bad as I believed it to be.

Serving ( washing feet) has taught me to see the good in every situation; to hope , to believe, and to trust in the plans my daddy God has not only for me but those I am serving. I have been shown time and time again no one is exempt from times of hardship and no one, absolutely no one is greater than the next. We all have our seasons of suffering but it is in those seasons if we choose to look at others and not our selves, we can see the love of  our daddy God working in our own lives.

In the recent events surrounding those I know and love I see many hands of our daddy God reaching out and serving those who have lost all that they have owned. Many have no homes of their own to go to, no beds to lay their weary heads down, no clothes to wear, no shoes to cover their feet and yet in spite of their own losses, they continue to reach out to others in their time of need.  They shed their own tears in the solitude of  God's grace and smile in the noise of chaos.  They each in their own right have shown hope, grace, love and attitudes that echo " We will overcome!!"

I have been blessed to see first hand others "washing feet" in spite of  the hurdles they themselves are enduring.  Each has done so with a precious love, a sweet humbleness and not a word of complaint. Instead of crying over what they have lost in turn their words have been ones of compassion; inquiring what others need from them instead of what they themselves need.( Brings me back to "lending a hand when I feel like I am the one who needs help." )

 As I long to always be His humbled messenger whose heart spills the unconditional love of my daddy God, I pray when I am called to wash the feet of those in need, I am able to listen, lend, be useful, give, comfort and be the example Jesus taught us how to be when He washed the feet of his disciples. 

"Wash their feet"  He says.

 I will Lord...........



His Daughter,
Stacey





Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Am.....





 
 The only sound I heard were the engines of the plane humming beneath me as I starred into another world through the tiny window my face was resting against. I did not want to come down from this place of solitude, this beautiful surreal atmosphere of  peace where the sun light penetrated through what appeared to be a city of serenity and a moment in time where I could breathe.
 
Just breathe............
 
In the quietness is where I find my daddy God waiting for me; a place I long to return to from all of the noise , from my endless thoughts that run rampant through my mind. It is here I ask, " Lord who am I? "  As a single mother whose children are grown and gone I find the place I have maintained in this world no longer the same and unable to grasp. I do not know how to let go of what was to become what is to be. Once again I hear my heart whisper to Him, " Who am I Lord? "
 
The sun light is now dancing before me over the clouds in tiny dancer moves, gracefully bouncing from one point to another with a synchronized rhythm of purpose. My gaze is not broken as I wait to hear His voice.
 
I know I have made my fair share of mistakes in my life. My prayer is my girls will not see me as a failure but a mom who loves them beyond what words can describe and that I did my best, even when my best was not good enough. My failures are trying to creep in and mock me now.  I push them to the side and I continue to wait for Him. The sunlight is brillant now with it's shimmering golden rays streaming in abundance.  
 
When seasons change it can be hard to see ones self as the woman God created her to be. It's easier to focus on the down falls, the what ifs and the should haves. As my plane continued to soar to it's destination and my longing for answers began to gravitate to a desperate plea, peace comes and holds me tight.
 
And then ever so softly I hear over the engines of the plane, the woman next to me gently breathing in a cat nap and the beating of my heart......
 
" Though you did not see your life as it is , I did. I knew what roads you would travel and down falls you would take, However it is I that have spared you in the most trying times of your life and it is I that loves you still. Where you see failure, I see lessons learned. Where you see unworthiness, I see growth and potential. I see you daughter. I hear the tears of your heart. I feel your uncertainties and hold your hope close. Your are mine beloved and my word tells you exactly who you are. "
 
 
You are a new creation and the old has passed away. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are chosen and appointed to go and bear fruit. ( John 15:16)
You are the apple of  my eye. ( Dueteronomy 32:10)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. ( Psalm 139:14)
By grace you have been saved by faith. ( Eph 2:8-9)
You have been raised up and seated with him in heavenly places in Christ. ( Eph 2:6)
You have been set free. ( Romans 6:18)
 
 
My plane is getting ready for its descent, however I take one last look and snap a quick picture of the magnificent place high above the clouds, the place where my daddy God met me and answered the heart of his daughter.
 
 
 
 
I Am~
 
His Daughter,
Stacey