Tag Archives: God’s love

You

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You know me.

You know my insecurities, you know the secret place of my heart. You know the areas where I am raw. You know the places where I put up a wall. You know the emotions that I try to stuff down so that no one would see them.  You know everything about me. When I lie down and when I rise, my every thought, and the dark places of my heart. You saw me before I was formed in my mothers womb. You had already written my life in your book before one day had passed.

You want me.

You want to spend time with me. You wait for me. You believe in me. And you trust me with your Word. You won’t leave me, and you won’t hurt me, and you won’t let me go.

You love me.

You love me in spite of me. You saved me when I was knee deep in sin. You carried me when I could no longer walk, and you watched over me as I slept. There’s not one thing I could do to make you love me more. On the days where I’m a mess, you call me beautiful. On the days when I want to hide, you pursue my heart. Your love for me isn’t based on anything I can do for you- it’s just because you love me, unconditionally, eternally, and always.

Praying today you would experience Gods love for you. His love knows no end.

Zeph. 3:17- The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

You are the Light of the World

Everybody has a story, sometimes we’re just in too much of a hurry to hear it. Oh Lord, give us ears to hear.

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It was a cool Saturday morning. My boys each had a friend over. The natives were getting restless, so I decided to get them out for a bit. A quick stop at an estate sale, then off to get some sweet mexican bread (Pan Dulce). The boys enjoyed getting to pick out a couple of delicious breakfast treats. The shop was about a block away from our church. The woman knew little english, but we tried our best to communicate. I asked where they were from and she said Matamoros, Mexico. She asked where we were from (what, do I not look like I’m from here?!) It could be the little blonde haired children with me. I told her we go to church right down the street. She said she went there like three years ago, and I told her (in my best broken down spanglish), you should come back, you would love it. She smiled.

With that, we continued on our journey to the lovely Dean Porter Park. The boys enjoyed sitting on the pick-nick benches, eating the their bread and cookies. Well, until the bees came that is. And off the boys went to play.

There were only a small handful of families out, but one family in particular caught my eye. I quietly observed without looking like a stalker. The couple looked tired. The woman yelled often at her three small children. I could hear the rage and turmoil in her voice. My eyes met the mans. They were empty; shallow. I wonder what their story is? I watched the woman with sad eyes cover her face with her hands with a look of defeat. Yelled again, overpowering the small boy. Her voice had the power to wake sleeping birds in the neighboring tree nearby. And the small child cried. It was a cry of fear and sadness.

This is where my heart shifted. My heart is extra sensitive to kids being mistreated. Because of my own scars I bear from childhood, it is my natural instinct to rise up against the injustice of a child.

But something shifted in my vision. I saw past the empty man who showed no response to his surroundings. I looked past the woman shouting uncontrollably at her children. And I saw. I saw two broken people that looked as if the pain and suffering of this world was almost too much to bare.

In the past, I might have shaken my head as I walked by, as if to say, “You evil lady, don’t you know you’re hurting them by your overpowering shouting?!” And what would that have done? Would that one judgmental moment make her realize she needs Jesus and that her life is spiraling out of control? We both know the answer to that. She would have continued to sink down that same self-destructive path and those precious children would be no better off because of my self-righteous judgement. It’s the attitude that says, “Surely, I’ve got it all together, but you, well, you’re a mess.” Might I say that we are all a mess at times and in desperate need of a Savior?

I walked up to the table. I can only wonder what they were thinking. Surely the woman who has it all together has come to condemn. “I hope this doesn’t sound strange,” I said, “but I would love to invite ya’ll to our church.” I felt the Holy Spirit on me so strongly, that I thought my heart might burst. I felt compassion for this family instead of judgement. This family. Broken before me. I gave them the details- time, address, etc. And that I felt like God was going to do something in their family. The woman offered a polite smile. The man repeatedly thanked me. And I walked off. Even if they thought I was crazy, it’s okay. People thought Jesus was crazy.

As the woman and children got up and walked past me, the man stopped. “Tell me again where your church is?” I tore out a piece of paper and wrote the address with some more detail. The man looked at me with tears welling up in his eyes. “You see, my family and I have been separated. My wife and our children are living with her mother, but her mother won’t let me stay. Coming to the park is the only way I can spend time with my children. I have no job, no money, no car. Sometimes I sleep on these park benches. Last night I slept downtown at the shelter.” I handed him the only cash I had, which wasn’t much. He said, “Oh no, are you sure?” It was the first and only time a homeless man asked me if I was sure when offering money.

Then he asked me if I would say a blessing for him and his family. “Sir, is it alright if I pray with you?” “Oh yes, please, I would like that.” And we prayed. And at that moment, I saw it for what it was. Holy. I was once again reminded that we are standing on holy ground. We prayed. I offered hope. To me, it was just a few moments out of my life, a few dollars, and a prayer. But to him I offered hope from a God who sees; a God who loves; and a God who cares.

God saw this family for what they were. Not with eyes of judgment and distaste, but  with the eyes of a loving Savior, who offers nothing short of hope to a dying and broken world.

You my friends are filled with hope. The hope of a Savior. You have the power inside of you to pour out living water to a hopeless generation. You don’t have to go far, and you don’t have to be something that you are not. It’s in you. The power of the Holy Spirit resides in you, living and breathing. The world already has  judgment. It’s easy for me to judge. But God, in His infinite mercy asks us to change the way we view the sinner. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). See them for what they are- broken and desperate. They know anger, pain, loss, and judgment. My goodness, their cup is full of that.

Offer hope instead of judgement

Matthew 5:14-16- 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Be exactly who God has called you to be- a light in a dark world. Not sure what to say to someone? Invite them to church! Offer hope to a hopeless generation. And watch God change our city, one family at a time.

Freddie, this is dedicated to you. I hope and pray I will see you at church today, because I believe God is doing something in your family.  Amen.

Fathers Heart

Mal. 4:6 (NLT)- His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Break my heart for the things that break yours. That’s always been my prayer. Lately the Lord has been answering my prayer and I’ve opened my heart and allowed Him to break it. I’ve been weeping with a broken heart, but He’s shown me today that it’s nothing compared to what my sisters have had to go through. It’s nothing compared to what these young boys have had to go through. So today I’m just a fountain of tears, broken for the things that Jesus’ heart is broken for. Heavy on my heart and I’m not sure what to do with it. So, I do what I always do when my heart is heavy- I write.

My heart is going out today for all of the unsung heroes that no one writes about. No one makes a movie about them. No one see’s their pain. No one see’s them working day after day, coming home completely exhausted and just getting started with their children. I am crying out and broken today for my single mom friends. I see you. I see you trying to make a life for you and your children. I see you going to school and working to better your life. I see you trying to be a mom and a dad. I know you don’t have enough money to provide sometimes just for the basic necessities. I see your heart breaking when you notice the other dads with their kids. But more importantly, I want you to know God sees. And his heart is broken too.

Let me just start by saying this. I have had more conversations this month than I can count on two hands. Here are just a few of their stories. They are my heroes. One of them shared how her son said, “Mom, will I ever have a dad to play sports with me or take me hunting or fishing? I’m in high school and I feel like my time is just passing me by.” Another single mom friend desperately wants to get plugged into a Bible Study for women but needs a place for her boys. Another mom told me she would love to have her boys learn about stuff like hiking, fishing, and camping & guy stuff.  Another friend said her sons’ dad lives out of state, but when he comes into town, that he doesn’t even come to see his own son. A different friend said that her kids’ dad has never had a relationship with her kids and this summer said he wanted to see them. These kids opened their hearts up with the hopes of starting that relationship with their father. He came and only wanted to see their mom and never even had intentions on building that relationship with them. He said IN FRONT OF THEM, “Coming out here was just a waste of my time.” When he left they wept with a wound so deep, grieving for the father they never had.

I asked. Break my heart Lord for the things that break yours. “You know not what you ask,” He answered. I almost couldn’t leave the house today. My heart was overwhelmed, not only for my dear sisters, but also for their children and the thousands of children that are out there crying out. Not sure what to do with this pain. One little boy in my son’s class makes up doing stuff with his dad- I believe it’s because the desire is so deep, and he hears all the other little boys talking about what they get to do with their dads. He wants it so badly.

My heart cries out for all the kids that see kids like mine with a daddy to go fishing with. I see it in their eyes. When they have Daddy-Day at school and their daddies don’t show up. This happened once in my son’s class in Colorado. It was Parent-Day. All the kids had their work lined up on their desks. The kids had worked hard all week on their special projects. One little girl bragged about how her daddy was going to come and she couldn’t wait (her parents were divorced and she lived with her mom). Time passed and the teacher quickly realized her dad wasn’t coming. The little girl started to cry. She blurted out to her teacher, “But my daddy said he was coming. He promised.” The teacher held her and rocked her and told her how beautiful her work was.

My heart cries out for these boys when they see all of their friends going camping with their daddies, and they wonder why they didn’t get picked to have a daddy. When they wonder in their little hearts if they just weren’t enough, if there’s something wrong with them. God’s heart is broke. This was not His plan.

There are so many things my heart shouts today. It shouts, “Dads, please, step up and be the man and father God has called you to be.” My heart screams, “Will you be the one to break the cycle of absent dads in your family?” “When will you seek out help and counseling and stop seeking out the desires and selfishness that wraps itself around your heart?”

And oh my goodness, my heart just wants to tell these little ones, “You are enough, it is not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong.” “You are so loved by your heavenly Father and I am so sorry on behalf of all of the dads that just can’t seem to figure out how to be there for you.” I am sorry; you are right, it is not fair.

And for all of my friends that are reading this that just stopped by thinking it was just another lighthearted devotion from me, can I ask for your prayers? Will you pray for all of our unseen heroes out there and for their children? We know that we have hope in God. He can restore and heal the broken-hearted.

And second (and this is big)- will you pray for our family? God began stirring something over 20 years ago in my husband’s parents’ hearts for a Ranch called Fathers Heart Ranch. That vision was transferred to his sister, Faith. And that vision has also been transferred to us. It is a huge need out here. We would love to have a place for father/sons, Mother/daughters, and kids that would normally never get an opportunity like this. We would love a place for boys to be mentored by men. To have a ministry in our church called Fathers Heart. We could provide a place where one Saturday a month these godly men could volunteer from our church to fish with them, swim, hike, ride horses, and speak into their lives- make deposits, pray with them and encourage them to keep going and fight the good fight. We would love to have a place that would provide resources for families- speaking, training, DVDs, and videos- to strengthen these families. We want to be an extension of His hand, reaching out to His kids.

We announced yesterday that we are stepping down as the Children’s Pastors at Good Shepherd Community Church. This has been something completely soaked in prayer since the beginning of this summer (2012). Our heart is still for kids and families (and we LOVE our kids here at this church). Our pastor and staff have been completely amazing and we could not be more honored and humbled by their support. We are not leaving our church (we love it here), we are merely moving into a new area of ministry. It’s definitely stepping out of the boat for us. Sometimes we want to know exactly what it’s going to look like, how it’s going to work and where the finances are coming from. But sometimes God will place a dream on your heart that’s bigger than you. And after a period of preparation and much prayer it requires stepping out in faith. I am so thankful to my in-laws who have laid the foundation for SO many years and have had their hearts broken for this way before us.

I believe it’s the Fathers Heart. I truly do. Pray for everything to fall into place, pray for favor, pray for more than enough in the area of finances, and that we would be able to hear from God for every step we need to take- we cry out for wisdom and are very careful to not take any steps without His guidance and direction.

Thank you for listening to my heart, Celeste

Mother Teresa was once asked how we can restore peace to our world. Her answer was simple: “Go home and learn to love your family.”

Safe Place

“How wide and deep is your love…”
The Lord wants you to find your safe place with Him. He see’s your pain. He see’s your brokenness. He see’s the walls that you have built up to protect yourself. And you keep building them higher and higher. Can I just tell you today that He is your safe place. Your place of healing and restoration. He comes before you with open arms. His embrace is  warm and gentle~ a safe place. Let Him wipe away the tears. He doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done. His love for you is right where you are at. Won’t you let Him in today? He won’t betray you. He will never turn on you. You can be totally vulnerable in His presence. Won’t you trust Him today?

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”