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18 Months

8 Sep

It’s been eighteen months since Dad died.  Some months the 8th passes by just being another day.  Sometimes the milestone brings another wave of grief.

Yesterday brought a new milestone of grief.  It was the first time someone visited our blog by searching for “Joe Lemsky cause of death.”  It sent shivers down my spine.  When I removed the veil of secrecy last month regarding the circumstances of dad’s death, I anticipated someone would google about it and I would provide fodder for gossip.  I knew that would happen.  I just wasn’t prepared for how I would feel.  

Today I’m reminding myself again that I am not defined by this.  My identity does not lay in this one event.  I am not a suicide survivor.  I am not left behind.  

I am beautiful and enough.  I am worth it.  I am a daughter of God.  The King.  That makes me a princess!  My identity does not lay in the grips of Satan’s lies, but in the King who gives me a hope and a future.  

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A Nobody

9 Jul

For the past year or so I have been working through some of the lies I believe, trying to get to my core lie.  The lie that drives me to  pursuing idols.  The lie that drives me to seek control.  The lie that sends me into self-pity – running from God and those who love me.

You are inadequate.  

This lie enters my heart daily.  You are forgettable.
You’re a nobody.
You are not good enough.
You have no special gifts or talents.
You should be doing more. more. more…

We were at a church function several weeks ago.  A woman introduced herself to me for the third or fourth time.  She remembered my children, my husband, but not me.  This is okay.  I forget people’s names occasionally.  I forget where they live, what they do, what they like to eat.  We aren’t supposed to remember everyone or everything about everyone.  So she forgot meeting me.  Big deal.  But then the lie enters my heart.  You are not memorable.  

This lie brings me to trying to create a name for myself.  An identity worth remembering.  I don’t even realize I do it.  I tell myself I don’t want to be Supermom and, yet, deep down I do.  I want to make pretty things, cook tasty food, keep my family healthy, look pretty, have a lovely home.  I want to be known as this person.  I pursue an identity. I do this all the time and don’t even realize it.  I don’t see how the things I do and the idols I pursue stem from the lies I believe. It’s exhausting.

I’ve been working on healing this lie with truth.  You are somebody.  Your a daughter of God, a wife, a mom, a granddaughter, niece, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, auntie, and friend.

And yet, this isn’t Truth that heals my brokenness.   There is freedom in being a nobody.  I want that freedom.  Striving to be a somebody has left me weary, drained, and ragged. Again, there is freedom in being a nobody.  How?  I am free to be a nobody because He is The Somebody.

Ezekiel – God Strengthens

26 Oct

In the days before Ezekiel was born Mike and I were still hashing out names.  We typically don’t have a name picked out for our babies until we meet them face-to-face.  Really, the final days of pregnancy are the best days to pick out a baby’s name–Who is this person going to be?  It really adds to the excitement and anticipation of meeting your Little One.

So, we had settled on our girl’s name and were still hesitant about any boy’s name.   I wanted a name that honored the life and New Life of my dad Joe.  I had wanted a name that conveyed the Lord’s plan in each of our lives.  I wanted this child’s name to show that God is so great that He brings Life from Death and that this life is about Him.

Ezekiel – “God strengthens.”

Throughout my pregnancy, my time in the Bible kept leading me to the book of Ezekiel.  It’s not a book I would typically spend my time in.  It’s a book of God’s judgment on Jerusalem and Judah–His people have been unfaithful to Him.  Ezekiel speaks of destruction and devastation.  But at the end of the book Ezekiel sees a newness of life, a new covenant, and the glory of Heaven.   This is what I want to be reminded of.  God is faithful–both to carrying out his judgment on sin and to giving us new life and restoring us through Jesus (Ezekiel’s coming Messiah).  Our lives here on earth are painful.  There is suffering.  There are tears.  There are consequences to our sinful state.  But God restores us and breathes life into us.

The Valley of the Dry Bones

The most well-known verses from Ezekiel are when the Lord leads Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones.  These bones are beyond dead.  God tells Ezekiel to prophesy flesh and breath into these bones.

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. – Ezekiel 37:7-10

The sight of this!  God is restoring life.  We are helplessly dead, we need God’s help, we need victory over death, and He offers that help–that promise of life–through the person of Jesus.  It is Jesus who breathes life into our dead bodies.

Ezekiel Joseph

Ezekiel Joseph

This Too Shall Pass

24 Jun

Some seasons in life are more difficult than others.  Mike and I would surely say that this is one of the most difficult seasons we’re in.  To avoid complaining let’s suffice it to say that Ambrose has only slept through the night a handful of evenings since we moved last August, my dad just died unexpectedly, and there are many, many other challenges.

“This too shall pass.”

One day Ambrose will sleep peacefully and wont scream all day.  One day Mike will have a job that he enjoys that sufficiently pays for all of our needs plus the needs of others.  One day we’ll have a “proper” prayer time.  One day I’ll be able to use the bathroom without finding out that Ambrose can open the deadbolt and scale the fence to the back alley.  One day I’ll meet my Savior face to face.

But what about today?

Jesus promises an abundant life to us (John 10:10).  Do I need to wait until I have time for that?

An abundant life is not to be mistaken with the Prosperity gospel (promises of health and wealth), but one that is characterized by fullness and by the Fruit of the Spirit. By definition if we are living in abundance we are lacking nothing.  There is nothing missing in our lives.  Everyone wants this sort of contentment, but it seems elusive.   Our circumstances do not determine this sort of contentment, but our heart does.  Discontentment in the heart must first be dealt with, then we can be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, even the ones out of our control!  Paul says in Phillipians that he has “learned the secret of being content” Phil 4:13.

We’ve been praying for peace in our home for the better part of a year now.  All the while things have just gotten louder and more chaotic.   Sure I’d like the screaming, hitting, and hair pulling to stop.  I’d like to get a full night’s rest.  I’d like the toys to be put away.  I’d like dinner to be made without someone escaping the house and headed for the street. But this is not the type of peace I’ve been granted.   I’ve got peace in the mundane, the exhausting, and the down-right difficult.  This is a peace that surpasses understanding.  This peace only comes through fellowship with Jesus, not in trying harder.  He has told me I’m worthy and I’m more than adequate.  I am Beloved!

God gives us a new name

16 May

Those of you who know Ambrose know him to be a wonderful, outgoing little boy…who throws some out-of-this world tantrums.  He’s volatile.

Yelling

Yelling

I love him with a passionate heart.  But my love is imperfect.  If he screams through the middle of the night, I’m tired and grumpy.  If he screams in the car I’m irritated.  If he screams in the store I’m embarrassed and annoyed.  These are not qualities of a perfect love.

But God’s love is perfect and unfailing.  His love is unconditional.  His love is relentless.  His love is beautiful.  His love is enough to fill in the gaps that my parenting leaves.   His love gives us a new identity.

When I call Ambrose “Mr. Crabby Pants,”  God calls him Delightful.  When I call him “Grump,” God calls him Joy.  When I call him “Ambrose David,”  God calls him “Beloved for Eternity.”

From desperation to hope

5 Jan

I was reading through my last post, and, boy, did it sound like a sugar-coating on depression.  I used the words desperate, turmoil, lack of joy.  They sound like depression.  I meant these words in the truest form.  I was desperate for hope.  I was idolizing many other things rather than God, and that left my heart in turmoil.  I wasn’t filled with exuberant joy.

I wasn’t depressed.  I’m not depressed.  I was in a dark season of life because I wasn’t living in the Light.  Truth is I didn’t have a clear vision of who God is and what Jesus is doing.  I wasn’t seeing 20/20.

A year-long study of Colossians has shown me who Jesus is, what He has done, what He continues to do, and how we are brought into His victory.  It’s given me instructions for how to deal with these feelings of desperation, turmoil, and lack of joy.

Depression can be real.  Was it for me?  No.  I just needed a 20/20 vision of God.  Once I truly grasped who Jesus is the desperation turned to hope.  I have a hope grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.