The Fountain Day 180: Validation to grieve

Sometimes life is painful.  Sometimes disappointments sting and cause us grief.  Sometimes we are hurt and can’t fully explain why, but just know something is wrong.

When we convey these emotions to others, sometimes they don’t really know what to say so they encourage us to just push through…

Friend, I want to release you to grieve. 

Too often we feel like we don’t have space, time, true reason to grieve things that have been painful for us…but that simply isn’t true.  When something hurts you or is disappointing, you need to give yourself permission to grieve. 

You don’t need anyone else to understand the reasons behind you needing to grieve…that’s the truth.  If your heart is hurting and you can’t seem to move forward, I believe that’s a good indicator that you may have some unresolved grief. 

It takes courage, discomfort, and willingness to stop, take a look inside, and allow God to show you…but it is SO worth it. 

I pray that today you will each take a moment to reflect upon your own heart and ask God if you need to grieve anything.  If you do, then allow that process to begin. 

We aren’t going to remain in grief…but I know for certain, there are no shortcuts…you either go through it or fight with it forever. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just face it. 

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23

He is there…when we walk through the valley.  He is there…when we face our enemies.  Not only is He there, but His goodness and love follow us…they follow after us…chase us down…capture us. 

You don’t have to live in perpetual grief…He turns our sorrows into JOY!

As the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.  Esther 9:22

Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.  Psalm 21:6

The Fountain Day 179: Blowing Dandelions

Before we can receive…we must first release.  We have to let go. 

I love dandelions.  I know they are a weed, and we don’t really want them in our yards, but I love them because they speak to us of the power of letting go.  When a dandelion has reached it’s white, fluffy stage…it’s now ready to be blown and dispersed.  This happens so that more dandelions can be produced.  It goes to seed, and one dandelion then spreads and creates many more. 

When we allow things to go to seed in our own lives, they only multiply. 

When I let go of what was, I can be open to receiving what’s next.  When I let go of the past, I can receive the fullness of my future.  When I let go of hurts, I can receive healing. 

It’s simply so important to let go.

Our lives are in a constant state of letting go and receiving.  We stall out when we refuse to allow this process…and if we do that, we become bitter, angry, and resentful. 

With a hand outstretched I receive all that God has for me…in the letting go, I remain full.  It’s so amazing. 

Dream and dream again.  Let God weed them out and bring to seed and multiplication whatever He desires. 

Imagine yourself standing in the grass.  You look all around, and it is covered in beautiful yellow dandelions.  At your feet you notice one that is fully white.  You pluck it up, take a deep breath, and blow it out into the world.  As you do, imagine that each individual seed is a dream of yours.  Do you trust God enough to allow Him to decide which ones take root and which ones don’t?  Make a decision to trust and then release it all.  Thank God in advance for the fulfillment of every dream that is aligned with His heart for your life.  He is worthy of our trust. 

Based on these verses we know we can trust Him to weed out the dreams of our flesh…

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:12-13

And this shows us we can stay in faith…even when we don’t see what’s happening…

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.  Hebrews 11:1-3

If you’re ready to take the plunge and believe…pray with me now.

God, I release all of my dreams to Your hands.  I trust You to let good things take root.  You are worthy of all my trust.  I love You and wait with glorious expectation to see what dreams you develop in my life!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Fountain Day 178: Coin Value

I held a coin in my hand…it was a quarter.  This quarter carries the value of 25 cents.  It will always equal 25 cents…no matter how old it becomes, even if it’s dirty, even if it fades…it will still be valued at 25 cents.

This is a great analogy for us…and our value.

We have value.  It can’t be taken away, it will never decrease, and no matter what we do or how “dirty” we become we will carry the same value. 

God gave us value when He chose to create each one of us.  Before we were even conceived, He knew everything about us.  He created each one of us on purpose.  This indicates value.

It doesn’t matter if people approve or disapprove of you, it doesn’t change your value.  It doesn’t matter if people see your potential or not, it doesn’t change your value.  No matter what the world says, they can’t take away or add to our value.  It remains the same…

What is your value?

I’m so glad you asked.

Beyond measure.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.       Luke 12:6-7

For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

As you face this day and the ones that follow, I encourage you to every day go to the Lord with the question, “Am I valuable?”  Let His truth, the only truth pour over you and give you a firm foundation to live life from. 

Far too many of us are trying to achieve a feeling of value based on works and how we are perceived by the world…we can’t live this way.  We can’t look to other broken people to receive an honest picture of ourselves.  Everyone is broken in some way…everyone has hurts and scars…everyone.  This is why we can only receive the fullness of truth from God. 

Tether yourself to that.  Lean on that.  Breathe it in and live free!

The Fountain Day 177: The dress and a loving Father

We never truly know when we will walk into a moment of healing and release.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last three years, it’s that only God knows the depth of healing I require…and He will not leave me undone.  He always makes a way for me to process.  He knows my every wound, He knows your every wound, and in His great love He offers invitations of healing to us.  I received one such opportunity this week…

Years ago, when Chris and I moved for a brief time to Florida, I found a clothing store that I fell in love with.  The clothes were notably expensive, but it was quality you could see.  The décor of the shop was also so fun and couches were placed around for weary husbands to sit as their wives shopped.  Up until that time, I had never encountered a place so fine.  The first time we went in, my creative side was stirred…I was determined to buy one article of clothing there…finding the least expensive item on the sale rack, I purchased a tank top and was so pleased.  Fast forward to years later, Chris and I were owners of a business and had found much success…and naturally, my favorite place to shop was this one beautiful store.  it was more than a store to me, it still is…it represents something deeper…a longing fulfilled, a turning of the tide…our step from what we once were, to successful adults. 

Then we faced the loss of our business, and during that time, I stopped going to this store.  I knew I couldn’t afford to buy things so I just avoided looking. 

This week at the prompting of a sister, I went…she had no idea that I had been through this struggle with the store.  When we arrived and I began to walk in the door, I felt something quite unexpected…I mean, it’s just a store…right?

I felt a wave of grief so powerful that I wanted to turn and walk away. 

How unexpected.  How strong that pain was.  My stomach literally hurt and my breath escaped me for a moment.  This same store that had become a marker of our success, now seemed a marker of the reminder of defeat. 

Nobody knew I was struggling as I walked through the store.  My son was with me and we chatted the whole time.  I had told him that he would enjoy the creativity of design as we went there, even though it was a girl store.  He did.  He looked past the clothes and noticed every cabinet and light fixture, etc.  He saw the art of it all…just like I knew he would. 

The lack in our finances pressed against my heart the whole time we walked around, yet I pushed through and determined to just appreciate the beauty around me.  Then my sister said, “You should try on that dress.  I was hoping you would.”  My breath caught in my throat and I shrugged off the words, and kept walking. 

After having explored every inch of the store, I felt an invitation…God was inviting me to simply try on a dress.  I said to my sister, “I’m going to try on that dress.”  “Oh good!”, she replied.

Then something wonderful happened…

As I turned to walk to the rack with the dress…feeling nervous and experiencing grief inside, I heard Him speak…”Restoration.  I am restoring you.”

Immediately, I knew this moment was about far more than a dress, it was about believing again.  It was about knowing this season of struggling would truly end.  It was about believing that He holds a good future for us, and I can fully trust in it.  It was about feeling known, valued, and loved.

I tried on the dress…perfect fit.  I felt beautiful.  Snapped a picture and sent it to Chris, who also said how wonderful I looked in it.

Then I hung the dress up, walked out of the store felling content, and knew…

We are being RESTORED.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.  Job 42:10

The Fountain Day 176: Wait

I sat at the piano and worshiped.  My mind is tired, my body is too.  The days have felt long and quite honestly, I’ve been begging God for a time of peace and abundance because I’m weary from the constant battles.  Yet, when I rose from the keyboard and started to leave my music room, I heard God speak, “Wait”.  Immediately after, I remembered these verses…

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in (wait on/trust in) the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint.    Isaiah 40:28-31

When your life is in transition…when you’re living out a middle portion…some people call it “walking in the hallway”…it can be wearying.  There are times when I feel like screaming for breakthrough to come…for prophesy over our lives to be fulfilled…but when those feelings come, I know what to do…return to His Presence.  Return to worship and remind myself that none of this is actually about me, it’s all about Him.  He gave me this life, He knows how to spend it.  He gave me this family, He knows what they need.  Even when members of my family lament to me about being in the transition…or they demand movement before it’s time…it is imperative for us to return to His Presence and be still.  It was from one of the mentioned scenarios that I went to worship today…a family member is feeling antsy and wanting to begin moving forward.  I went to God and laid it down.  I turned my face toward His and just worshiped.  I didn’t even ask Him about anything and I didn’t know God would speak about it, I simply went to worship Him and refocus my mind…yet, as I walked away He spoke.

Wait.

When He spoke, I knew immediately what He was talking about.  He was talking about our family…we are to wait.  But in that waiting, so much is occurring.  Just like the verses say, in the waiting we receive strength, we soar and run and walk…in the waiting we are refreshed.  So, I will wait.

Even when it’s uncomfortable, I will wait.  Even when I can’t even see how we will get through, I will wait. 

In the same way that I trusted God to bring me a husband if He wanted to, I trust Him with our future as a family.  He knows what He is doing.  He deserves my trust.  He has earned my obedience.  I will wait. 

And I know that when my family members get antsy or impatient, it’s a great opportunity for God to grow them.  It’s a chance for maturity to take root.  It’s a time when their relationship with God can become deeper.  I won’t interfere with that by acquiescing to their grumbling or frustration.   I will wait.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:8-9

The Fountain Day 175: Framework

As I sat down and was about to ask God what He wanted to say in this devotional…even before I was able to ask the question…God spoke “framework”.  It was so clear that I couldn’t deny it.  So, I leaned in and asked, “What are You saying?”  This is what I heard…

In this season, as I’ve mentioned before, God has been detoxing us from the world and its systems…now, He’s beginning to build a new framework for our family.  As that framework is in its beginning stages, I know for certain… 

Unless the Lord builds this house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat- for He grants sleep to those He loves.  Psalm 127:1-2

Now, more than ever, I am being super intentional in our plan and design for family.  What will our days look like?  What will they be filled with?  God took so much care to empty out our days, I wouldn’t dare fill them now carelessly.  In this moment our family has a rare opportunity to begin again, so to speak…

Guess what?

So do you.

Maybe you’re not in the same circumstances that we are, but you did walk through all the covid junk, and one thing God did during that time, was offer a reset.  The enemy brought around something to try and destroy and control…but what really happened was a great awakening and an opportunity for families to make changes more easily.  Yes, covid’s been over for a while, but we’re still in a sort of grace period where change feels easier.  Am I wrong?  It sure feels like we’re more malleable still…

Why not take this forced disruption, and turn it into a unique opportunity?!

Let go of life as you know it and ask God for His heart.  What does He desire for your family?  What purpose did He have when He put you with your spouse and created your children?  I believe that not only does each person have a special calling for their lives, but also each family group has its own unique calling.  Why did God construct your family?  Have you ever asked Him?

Today is a good day to lean into His heart for your family. 

God, I surrender my family to Your hands.  Guide and direct our path.  Show me for what purpose You have created our family.  We belong to You.  You are the great Carpenter, we place the framework of our home in Your hands.  Make us as You will.  Let Your dreams for us, become our dreams.  We love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.  People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.  Proverbs 19:2-3

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2

The Fountain Day 174: Tender Mercies

You made me; You created me.  Now give me the sense to follow Your commands.  May all who fear You find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in Your word.  I know, O Lord, that Your regulations are fair; You disciplined me because I needed it.  Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant.  Surround me with Your tender mercies so I may live, for Your instructions are my delight.  Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on Your commandments.  Let me be united with all who fear You, with those who know Your laws.  May I be blameless in keeping Your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.           Psalm 119:73-80

I really love how the above verse says…”May all who fear You find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in Your word.”  I have noticed that when I live boldly for God and allow His joy to fill me, then others are naturally encouraged by me.  The opposite could also be true…when I don’t stay focused on truth and joy, then I can just as easily become a downer…and downers always end up pulling others down. 

We all love to be around authentically joyful people.  It’s very attractive.  Joy is such a beautiful strength.

We are all to be stewards of His joy.

We are also to be stewards of His tender mercies.  I love the way it’s described as tender.  God’s mercies are the epitome of tender. 

It’s His mercy that called us into His heart.  It’s His kindness that leads to repentance…kindness is a fruit of mercy.  

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I struggle to feel kind toward difficult people.  Those who are struggling with things that I truly don’t understand.  Those who are pushing agendas that I see as clearly demonic. 

This week, as I reflected on the trans movement that is currently being shoved at us, left and right…I was angry…then I suddenly became so grieved.  The mercy of God flowed over me and I saw that this particular weapon of the enemy was such an affront.  When those who have been pulled into the lie of trans are saved and seek to walk with God, it will be glorious, yes…but it will also be so hard.  The enemy of our souls is tricking people into literally changing their bodies with chemicals and surgery…when I was thinking about it, I saw how difficult and complex it might be for some when they are saved and seek to live a “normal” life.  I know this because I lived it…not because of trans, but because of my own sexual sin. 

When I began to truly walk with Jesus, the hardest sin for me to forgive myself for…were the sins I committed against my own body.  I know firsthand the challenge of feeling like I could never be holy.  Feeling I could never be fully right with God because I had chosen to sin against my own body. 

My heart is so beyond grieved that this would be the case for this generation.  Oh Lord, help us.  I would never desire for anyone to struggle with what I’ve struggled with…in terms of feeling like I might never be clean again.  I know what it is to be made clean…therefore, my heart toward those who are sinning against themselves is so heavy. 

Lord, let Your tender mercies flow from the mercy seat and over our land.  Lord, protect people from the tricks of the enemy.  Bring fast forgiveness and transformation to those who have become enslaved to demonic agendas.  You alone are holy.  I know that I stand as redeemed, only because of Jesus’ blood shed for me.  Lord, awaken this generation to the salvation that comes only from Jesus.  Bring forth a revolution of morality and holiness.  We need You.  We always have, and right now we need You so desperately.  Come Lord Jesus come.  Forgive our sins and lead us down right paths.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Fountain Day 173: Who makes you holy

None of us are holy on our own merit.  It is God alone Who is holy.  It’s Jesus in us that makes us holy.  We are completely dependent on Jesus.  It is His righteousness that covers us. 

Yes, I know we’ve talked about this before, but it always bears repeating because it’s just so easy for us to fall into pride.  It’s shocking how easily we forget our struggles with the sin that so easily entangles, and suddenly we feel like we’re the most holy person ever…the road from forgiveness to haughtiness is short. 

This leads me to these verses…

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe My Sabbath.  This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, Who makes you holy.  Exodus 31:12-13

Here we are told that we observe the Sabbath as a sign that we know that He is the Lord. 

It’s so interesting to me that God’s desires our rest as a sign we know Him.  In essence, it’s being willing to allow for a day of rest…letting go of work for a day…choosing rest, instead of striving, that declares we know God.  That’s amazing. 

Only a truly loving God would weave rest into our weekly schedule and somehow make it an acknowledgment of our relationship with Him.

You see, when we choose to rest, we choose to acknowledge that we have no power on our own.  All power, authority, and wisdom come from Him.  It’s not observing the Sabbath that makes us holy…it’s God Who makes us holy.  It’s not behavior of our own that makes us holy…it’s the One we serve Who makes us holy.  This is why the Bible makes sure we know that we don’t get to heaven based on works…and why does it say works won’t get us there?  Lest we boast.  You see, God knows just how easy it is for us to get the “big head”. 

All of the gospel leads us to the fact that we are to be fully dependent upon God. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

The scripture doesn’t say, apart from Me you can’t do some things…no, it says, “Apart from Me you can do NOTHING.”

Nothing.

We need Him.  All the time.  In every situation.  We are to remain full time dependents of Him.

That’s such a safe place to live…fully dependent on God. 

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.   John 15:7-8

The Fountain Day 172: Displaced

There are moments when God is shifting those who once walked under Him with humility…yet have given themselves over to the ways of the world…out of their position of influence and placing those who are next in line to lead His people.  We read about it all the time in scripture…like Saul and David.

Saul was then afraid of David, for the Lord was with David and had turned away from Saul.  Finally, Saul sent him away and appointed him commander over 1,000 men, and David faithfully led his troops into battle.  David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.  When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.  But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle.  1 Samuel 18:12-16

This paradigm could occur in churches, work, even government…

When this occurs, we shouldn’t be surprised to see whoever is being replaced throw an absolute fit.  When God is shifting authorities, it’s natural for clashes to occur.

This is happening now. 

In many places the enemy has felt He has free reign…but God.  God has stirred His remnant.  He has activated His sleeping bride.  He has brought wrongs to light and is giving a chance for mercy.  An opportunity for us to change. 

It’s common, nowadays, for me to see things in a new light…as if a guard that was once set around my view has been lifted and now I see more.  Have you been experiencing this too? 

It’s exciting, to say the least…but it’s also stretching, because new vision carries new responsibilities. 

When we yearn to know more and see more, then we must embrace the privilege of that.  Once we know something, we can’t unknow it…once we know we are responsible for responding appropriately. 

As we continue to watch God displace some and replace them with others, we must stand ready to take action and fill gaps, as He leads us. 

It’s a level up season.  Are you ready?

“You, heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down.  Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it.”  Isaiah 45:8

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.  Proverbs 16:9

The king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it.  When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.  How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!  Proverbs 16:14-16

The Fountain Day 171: Imagination

Life with God sparks imagination.  When I’m walking closely with Him and listening intently, I am more imaginative.  Why?  Because when I’m near Him, I know I have a future.  Hopelessness comes from distance and disconnect.  Imagination is key to walking a vibrant life with God.

I’ve noticed that so many of us struggle to use our imagination.  I guess it’s from years of disappointment, being told to grow up, having dreams mocked, chasing the American dream…there are a lot of reasons. 

During this season, the last couple of years, God has been increasingly provoking me to explore my imagination and partner with Him more.  God puts imaginative dreams within each of us, but it’s our job to search them out and take the first steps. 

Are you willing?

When is the last time you dreamed, just for the sake of dreaming?

When was the last time you asked God to increase your imagination?

This is something I now do, almost daily.  As I read about the many imaginative and miraculous ways God moved in scripture, I have become increasingly convinced that we have seen so little of what we could see.  He has so much to show us.  He has so much adventure planned for our lives.  Most die without even scraping the surface of possibility.  I have made it my mission to push as far into Him in this way, as I possibly can.

Why is this important to me?

Well, I want to know Him better.  If God is creativity, then I want to be immersed in it.  God is love therefore I seek a deeper understanding of that too.  It’s all about wanting to know Him better.

As I sit outside right now, listening to the many sounds around me…I can feel God’s creativity.  The birds’ many different chirpings.  The sound of the wind.  The feeling of the sun shining down on my shoulder.  Nature can tune our hearts to this heavenly creativity.

Imagination must be reigned in by God and tuned to His heart, otherwise it will inevitably become perverted.  The Bible cautions us of the imaginations of men.  But this doesn’t mean we should shy away from all imagination.

An imagination partnered with God is a wonderful thing!! 

Take time today and sit in your imagination.  Ask God to come in and reveal new imaginings to your heart.  Lean into whatever He shows you.  Imagine it can happen.  Imagine your imaginings are reality…It’s like taking hold of a rainbow and following it to its place of landing.  Heaven touching earth.  It’s a beautiful place. 

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:17-19a