Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Daughter”

Daughter…You were Planned…You are Loved

If God is for us, who or what can come against us…and be successful?  Nothing and no one you might say and I’d beg to differ, coz there’s always YOU!  Those three letters separate you from Him and every good and perfect thing He has reserved for those who would yield to Him and believe that YOU are what HE says you are; YOU can do everything HE says you can do.  You are that whosoever He speaks of in Mark 11:23 KJV.

Lately, the story of the woman with the issue of blood has been coming up a lot in messages.  I always tune in when I hear her story in Mark 5:25-34.  This woman had some issues.  Don’t we all!!  Imagine having a continuous flow of blood for twelve years and desperately seeking a cure, going from doctor to doctor until you’re left financially ruined and in worse shape than when your nightmare began.  Imagine the physical toll on your body; the ruinous effect on friendships and forget about any kind of relationship with a man.  Like the lepers of that time, according to Mosaic Law, she was excluded from society and was forbidden public access unless she announced her arrival using the word “unclean” to describe herself, giving people ample time to steer clear from her.  Imagine that humiliation!  Imagine the hits you would take from the “theys.”  Those who gather to point at you, to gawk, to spread rumors…imagine the things said about you; the names you’d be called…outcast, unclean, pitiful, cursed, nasty, poor, loser.   Nothing can be said about you that would rival the tapes running in your head, recited in your own voice…adding to the horror, the feelings of anger, shame, loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, depression, fear.

But faith…it comes by hearing and hearing by the word.  This woman heard about Jesus, the Word made manifest in the flesh, and she moved…pushing her way through the crowd despite her weakened condition, her outcome already settled within her as she pressed forth.  She didn’t wait for Him to see her…she saw, she reached out, she took her healing.  I absolutely love her encounter with the One who healed her.  He could have corrected her for interrupting Him; rebuked her for coming out in public in her condition…instead, He replaced every awful name she was ever called when he called her “Daughter.”  He healed every hurt when he continued saying, “your faith has made you well.  Go in peace.  Your suffering is over.” NLT

I shared this message with a  group of teens/young adult women and then I passed around a gigantic, hand held mirror and asked each girl to tell me what she saw.  The responses ranged from just okay to not good enough to one of the girls not even wanting to look at herself.  I took that opportunity to remind them that they were His daughters and they were on His mind…have been for a long time and will be forever; they were loved by Him unconditionally and were not a mistake…were perfect in His sight.

And so I invite you to read and receive, then take and make yours the way they did..

You Were Planned

– I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:5)

– I pre-appointed the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26)

– I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

– You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

– You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in My book. (Psalm 139:15-16)

– I brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)

– I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)

– I know when you sit down and when you rise up.  I know what you’re thinking. (Psalm 139:2)

– I am familiar with ALL your ways. (Psalm 139:3)

– Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:30)

A Father’s Love

– You were made in My image. (Genesis 1:27)

– You are My offspring. (Acts 17:28)

– It is My desire to lavish My love on you, simply because you are My child and I am your Father. (1John 3:1)

– My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore.  (Psalm 139:17-18)

– My plan for your future has always been filled with hope because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 29:11; Jeremiah 31:3)

– You are My treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)

– I will be with you; never leave or abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

– I will never stop doing good to you. (Jer. 32:40)

– I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

– When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)

– I comfort you in all your troubles. (2Corinthians 1:3-4)

– I am your greatest encourager. (2Thessalonians 2:16-17)

– I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)

– If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

– I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)

– Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart, for it is I who gave you those desires. (Psalm 37:4; Philippians 2:13)

– In Me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)

– Every good gift you receive comes from My hand. (James 1:17)

– I offer you more than your earthly father ever could because I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 7:11; Matthew 5:48)

– I am your provider and I meet your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

– I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.  (Ephesians 3:20)

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Peel that Onion Please

This morning I had some great girl time with my baby girl.  She was telling me all about her yesterday.  She met up with her “BFF” at church where they served together on the last day of VBS.  Afterwards, she went to her house where they swam, ate dinner, went shopping and ended the day at a yogurt shop.  She was showing me pictures and showing off her latest “BFF” gear.  How many BFF’s does a girl have, I wondered.  I asked her what her other “BFF” would think when she saw her pictures on Instagram.  “She’ll know how I feel when I see her pictures with ‘Roni.'”  My mommy ears perked up and I asked her if it hurt her to see those pictures.  She said no and was adamant about it not hurting.  Were you at least tweaked?  Pinched?  Bothered at all by it?  Nope, she said as her eyes welled up with tears.  Oy!!  I’m needing some quick wisdom here.  Do I impose MY belief on her that I do not believe in best friends?  Do I break it to her that your best friend usually has a best friend besides you and chances are great that your best friend has shared a tidbit or two about you?…that’s what best friends do!  I was on a quest for an answer before I broke it down to her.  I switched roles with her and asked her to teach me.  Show me how one can have so many “best friends” without there being a conflict.  She named her besties and it would appear that they are separated by category.  There’s the school BFF; the neighborhood BFF and the church BFF.  What happens, I ask, when you have a party and they all come?  Who’s your BFF then, huh?  She looks at me all puzzled, like I’m the one who is confused.  I’m thinking I may be overthinking this BFF thing, so I’m thinking I should stay in my lane and instead address those tears I saw in my girl’s eyes.

Well, that exchange prompted a discussion regarding emotions and the reality that we have ’em, but they shouldn’t have us.  They shouldn’t change us, paralyze us, debilitate us.  I encouraged her to acknowledge her emotions so that she could avoid the tendency to cover, conceal, deny them, which would invariably give them power over her.  I told her not to be ashamed to be vulnerable with someone she could trust; someone who won’t judge her (LIKE ME—CHOOSE ME); someone who could be her soft place; someone who will encourage her; listen to her; pray for her; hold her and tell her it’s gonna be better.  With that she snuggled next to me and put her head on my lap.  I brushed her hair back and did just that.  Instead of breaking it down to her (my BFF theory) I told her about my onion theory.  I explained that an onion consisted of many layers and  peeling those layers back makes you cry…it’s uncomfortable, messy and rather annoying, but it’s necessary.  I told her how people have a tendency to cover their hurt…to never address their issues.  Instead they add layer after layer thinking that if they cover the hurt and not address it, it will go away.  It never goes away, though.  We just create onions and the peeling away of those layers make you cry, is uncomfortable, messy, rather annoying, but necessary.  “I don’t want you creating onions, Mariah.  Address your emotions, acknowledge them and heal.  Don’t bury them…disable them!”

We were interrupted by my husband who reminded her that her BFF would be by to scoop her up for day two of BFF time.  She sat up and gave me a kiss.  I walked into her room a short time later and as she was tying her shoes, she looked up at me and said, “thanks for loving me, mom.”

Should I have shared my BFF theory?   No, she’ll either see it my way or prove me wrong.  I’m hoping and praying for the latter!

I Like Me

I can’t help it…I like me.  I like everything about me.  Everything that is right and wrong about me.  Everything in and out about me.  I just do…and if you got a chance to know me, I think you’d like me too.  I didn’t mean to sound so Dr. Seuss about it all.  I spend time evaluating myself every so often.  Some gals spend time primping and poking, injecting, plucking and painting and all that is great and necessary most times…no judgment — I just tend to look in cause for me if I’m right on the inside, it transfers to the outside…at least that’s the truth for me.

I’ve prayed with and for women who do not feel valued or valuable, validated or viable; who are led astray by their emotions believing whatever lies have been fed to them; women who have not been affirmed; have compared themselves to and competed with the lies shown on the cover and in the pages of magazines; women who have not been what I call loved from the inside out and as a result don’t love themselves; don’t feel worthy of any good and their choices in life sometimes expose their misguided “truths.”  I’ve often wished that I could open these women up somehow and pour into them all that I know about how much He loves them, how He has great plans for them, but none of that would stick, I know, until they learn to like themselves first!!

It’s a wonder that I never fell into any of those traps.  For how supportive and comforting my mother was as I was growing up, I never once recall her encouraging me in any way other than to tell me how pretty she thought I was.  After my first major heartbreak (I was 22) she tried comforting me the best she knew how by telling me to eat because I was too skinny, even though I still was beautiful and would find someone else, of course. I’m not slamming her.  I don’t hold that against her at all.  When you know better, you do better.  She didn’t know any better, having been raised with a stable of beautiful sisters, I’m thinking her mother probably comforted them in that same manner.  In fact I clearly recall, for instance, when my mom would ask one of her siblings how “so and so” was, the response always began with how “so and so” looked, usually followed by some sort of tragedy.  My sisters and I joke about that.  That’s my mommy!  I love her and from her I did learn how to demand respect!!  She was tough!  My mama didn’t play!!

I made a conscious decision when my daughter was a baby that I would minor on the outside and major on the inside, meaning that I wouldn’t focus on her looks…I figured the world would tell her how cute she was in due time.  Instead, I would focus on the real her.  Her spirit, who she really was.  She had to learn to love herself first, to be content with who she was and how God made her.  During one of our recent walks, I spent a great deal of time telling her the amazing young woman I saw her becoming.  I praised her by telling her how kind and generous she was, how thoughtful and encouraging she was, how trustworthy and genuine she was; how creative and talented she was.  I tell you, I thought she would float away by the time I finished encouraging her.  Her head was held high and she was so gonna keep up with me in order to hear every word.

I’m determined to build her up from the inside to the outer…to love herself well enough to eventually like herself… and everything about her..the right and wrong about her; everything in and out her!

“What matters is not your outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but your inner disposition.  Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” 1Peter 3:3-4 The Message Bible

Zipline to Freedom

I was recently invited to go away for a weekend of spiritual refreshing with some awesome women.  Of course, I had things that were pressing and up until the day of departure, I was see sawing with whether I had the time, or even if I had the time, whether I had the desire to go “there” emotionally.  In the end, I decided I would tag along and spectate, get some much needed rest and eat three good meals a day!!  Prior to my departure, I encountered a young woman who really needed refreshing and I figured I had to go now that I invited her….after all, surely God wouldn’t move on her behalf unless I was there, right????? 🙂

On day two, we had some quiet time before lunch and it was then that I had my first encounter with the Lord.  I grabbed my journal and this is what He spoke to me:

“Daughter, you must give from your abundance and not from your reserve. Put yourself at the head of the line.  Stop being everything to and for everybody and just be…be truthful to yourself, be forgiving, be free.  Let somebody love you – let that somebody be Me.  Admit your weaknesses, admit when you’re weak for it is in that space that I will strengthen you.  It is then, when you’re the most pliable that change – My change can begin.  Daughter, do you trust Me?”

During our free period that day, there were several activities to choose from and I chose to zipline, where I had my second and most profound encounter with God.

I stood with the other girls waiting for my turn to climb to the sky and hurl myself down attached to what looked like a clothesline.  As I approached the pole with all eyes on me I was cool, chest out, head up, never letting on that my insides were churning…had my “faith face” on!!

As I began the climb, a clear metaphor was unfolding as God began speaking to me on this tailor made adventure.  Each peg I stepped on in this journey was unsteady and as I looked up, the road appeared long and narrow – my goal so far away, but attainable.  As I reached the half way point, the wind picked up causing me to pause in order to let those conditions pass.  Just like life’s circumstances which interrupt our climb, I had to wait it out praying that it would pass quickly since I was close to the top and too far along to fail now.  I made it to the top and with one long shaky step I hoisted myself up onto the platform where I was met by someone MY size whose job it was to keep us BOTH from plummeting off of the tiny platform built for two.

She told me how great I climbed and I couldn’t even squeak out a thank you.  As I hung on to the pole, she told me to trust her.  She said “I’m attached to the line above me and you are attached to me….you’re fine.”  She then clipped my harness to the zipline and explained that I needed to sit down even though my bottom would not touch the platform, and then I was to toss my legs over the side of the platform. Right!  I said, “Are you sure?  Yes, you’ll be fine, trust me,” and so I did.  I sat back and felt for the platform that was there but unreachable. “Should I hold on?”  “You can hold on or let go…either way, you’ll be fine.  Let me know when you’re ready.”  “Should I hold on?”  “Whatever you like,” she said.  I paused, took a breath and said “okay, I’m ready,” and with that I heard a click and a release and with the instincts of a trusting child, I let go and had the most amazing ride….I was free.

That climb represented my journey…our  journey…a long, narrow, sometimes scary path; unsteady steps with a destination in mind; a pause when life’s circumstances threaten to knock us off of our destiny, moving forward with determination to reach our goal and reaching our destination only to determine that there’s more ahead and that we’ll have to trust that God has us even when it seems unsteady; when He seems unreachable.  He has us whether we choose to hold on or not and if we trust Him and let go, the result is freedom!

I encourage you to trust Him today, let go and experience freedom!!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Don’t miss Spiritual Refreshing, 2013
January  24-26 – The Oaks, Lake Hughes, CA
Contact me for details…arlene53787@aol.com

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