From Baggage To Royalty

Years ago when my daughters were so much smaller I started this little game. We could hear my husband pull into the garage and the minute that garage door started to open we would make a mad-dash to find a place to hide. Most of the time the three of us ended up in the same dark places, with smiles so big you could hear them with little traces of giggles and hushes to be quiet. I’ll never forget their faces as I placed them into that very first hiding place behind an oversized chair. Excitement lingered in the air.

Come and find us. We want to be found by you.

It’s the game of hide and seek that we play as children and later in life we play it as adults without even knowing why.

We hide longing to be found and sometimes we hide longing to remain invisible out of fear. We hide behind a façade, a plastic smile; we hide out in the baggage that we have picked up over the years. Our baggage becomes our identity and safety net, it weighs us down and encumbers.

In 1 Samuel 10 we find an appointed king, appointed and set a part for God’s service.

“Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed him and said, I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.”

As the oil runs down his face he might have wondered why. “Why, among all the people, would the God of all creation choose me?” But, the oil runs down his face, not the person he deemed more suited for the job.

Samuel gives him instructions:

“At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.” (1 Sam 10:6)

And it happened, just as Samuel had said. He did prophesy as the people watched in amazement.

“God gave him a new heart.” (Vs. 9)

God placed a new heart within him; time to turn the page on what once was to walk in a path of destiny. It was time for this to become public knowledge as God reveals to his people that Saul was His choice for king. And as Saul was chosen to be king, he disappeared. The one who had received a new heart, the one who had prophesied for the first time, and the one who could still feel the oil running down his head, hid.

“…But, when they looked for him, he had disappeared.” (Vs. 21)

“So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?” And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” (Vs. 22)

Why do we do that? Why do we run and hide when God is asking us to come out and lead His “special possession.”

Why do we pull the covers over our heads and hide in piles of baggage that should be thrown out?

It’s because we are afraid and we don’t have to be afraid. When we open our mouths, we pray first that God would fill it. We put on the full armor of God, not a plastic bag that easily falls apart.

With the many God given symbols of who God had created Saul to be, he still hid… among baggage. This tall man meant to tower, cowered. And I have to ask you this:

Are you doing the same thing?

Saul stood head and shoulders above everyone else. (Vs 23) He looked the part, but inside he didn’t feel like the rightful king. And even though he hid, scriptures record that, “This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!” (Vs. 24)

I have been guilty of hiding among the baggage when I’ve heard the voice of God clearly telling me that I was meant for more. You were meant for more. We don’t have to hide out in the beat up baggage claims any longer. The God that fashioned you is asking you to come out from hiding and assume the position that He assigned to you with a new heart and a new anointing. Your circumstances might look more like baggage, but the destiny God has in mind for you will blow your mind!

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2:9)

He is asking you to come out from among the baggage.

Do you want to be found by Him?

Baggage and Wildflowers

I travel much lighter these days. A decade ago, I was the girl with enormous baggage tattered and torn with insecurities too many to number. How could I have possibly known that my baggage would become the platform that I would stand tall on? I hid behind a mask that I thought I had to wear, a made-up display of having it all together instead of embracing the mess. God turned my battle scars into beauty and showed me the power of a testimony covered by grace.

It was all grace, hurt that made me cry out to a God that was always there. The perfect picture of a loving Daddy that I had never laid eyes on invisible, but real. Grace that lovingly restored the mess of me, painting a picture in hues that heal as His word became the lamp lighting my path.

You see, we could continue to put on airs and do our best to fake normalcy. But, in my humble opinion, I find that normal is way overrated when daily I experience a God that delights in my abnormal. Piece by piece that beat-up baggage that used to weigh me down and hinder me from viewing myself as one that God formed had to go. I had carried it for far too long. His truth was to set me free, not somewhat free or partially free.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We could continue to hold on to our baggage with a death-grip, but we won’t get very far. We could continue to let it define us, or we could kick it to the curb and let God give us something far greater, like wildflowers and a whirling dance.

“You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance, You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God my God, I can’t thank you enough.” (Ps 30:11-12 MSG)

May God take your baggage and turn it into a platform of grace. I pray that as you let some things go, God will give you a song and a whirling dance as He restores what was stolen.

Much love,

Jennifer

Keep Breathing

The average time it takes to recover from a tonsillectomy is 5-7 days. Open heart surgery? They say the initial recovery period is 6-8 weeks, and it can take many more months to heal completely. Regardless of how invasive it is, all surgery is followed by a time where the body heals. Most surgery recovery includes incision care, limited activity, extra rest, pain medication, and other rules that must be followed to insure that complications don’t set in.

We know this. Anyone who’s had surgery knows that the recovery process is slow and oftentimes frustrating, but necessary. Anyone who’s had surgery would also tell you they’ve disobeyed their doctor’s orders and tried to rush things. All that gets us is more pain and frustration. You can’t rush healing.

Why then do we fight so hard against the process of healing for our hearts? When our hearts are broken, when our dreams are shattered, when trust is betrayed, when death comes we want to rush through the healing process. We want to rush past the pain. We look for shortcuts and ways around the long journey of restoration.

We understand that physical healing takes time, but can’t seem to grasp the same concept when it comes to emotional healing. The simple fact that we need healing should tell us that it’s going to take some time. Healing is never instantaneous.

If you rush physical healing you can wind up with an infection, back in the hospital or, worst case scenario, even die. With emotional healing we can rush ahead, skip steps and pretend that we’re recovering faster than we actually are. We can act like we’re healed while hiding the fact that we are actually dying inside. The only difference between rushing physical and emotional healing is you can fake one and not the other.

I find myself in a recovery phase. And I want so desperately to rush through the process. I want to run ahead and skip steps. But I know that doing that will only leave me weak and dying.

The question was asked of me recently “Do you want relief or do you want to be healed”? I want to be healed. I know that relief is the quick fix, the easy way out but the slow process of healing brings strength and life.

When the pain becomes unbearable, when the nights become too long, when answers seem far away the temptation becomes so strong to throw in the towel, quit the process, and not trust God. But He can be trusted. Even when relief seems so far away. He promises us that joy comes in the morning, no matter how long the night may last.

So if you’re walking through the valley with me, let’s not run ahead. Let’s listen to the instructions from the Great Physician who longs to heal our hurting hearts. Let’s keep walking. Keep trusting. Keep breathing. Let’s be healed.

Pavement and Pain

Tonight as my family took a walk together, the girls on scooters, and us by foot. We strolled and laughed as I remembered former walks down this same path with much smaller girls. Memories of sidewalk chalk and popsicles in summertime air and being bundled up with frosty breath in the winter lingered in my mind of our mileage down our favorite path. And just as my oldest became more confident on the scooter she fell. I watched the entire accident wishing that I had fallen instead. I wanted to break her fall, not bandage her wounds because that is what love does. Love makes you want to take the pain so they don’t have to hurt, bleed, and cry. Love makes you want to be the cushion and not the pavement. Love makes you want to lessen the blow by rushing out to buy the perfect size band-aid.

 

I think about wounds far worse.

 

“He was wounded for our transgressions.”

 

“He was bruised for our iniquity.”

 

As I ponder shades of blue that run deep with a sinless life.

 

I whisper, “This is what love does… for me.”

 

Love wrapped Himself up in death so that I might live.  Deep within me I know that there are moments that I am not living life in the abundance that Christ purchased for me. Why not? It’s paid for in full, it’s a done deal. How could I not walk in prosperity of soul when I have this assurance; the God of all creation sent His perfect son to buy my pardon and He has scars to prove it.

 

Jesus has scars.

 

And by His stripes we are healed.

 

The inner scars that no one else sees, He cradles it in His hands as He longs to be the cushion instead of the pavement that painfully took our breath away. Sometimes we see the fall coming and there is nothing that we can do except brace ourselves knowing that God will be there to kiss our wounds.

 

Your marriage might be your pavement right now with cracks and potholes so big that you feel like you can no longer travel down it. Your grownup children making poor decisions might be your pavement, you might feel like you are watching them fall in slow motion and there is nothing that you can do but call on the name of Jesus.

 

So, I say to your pavement scars, with scars of my own, that by His stripes we are healed. Only He can make your mess a masterpiece. I can’t tell you how He does it; I just know that He does.

 

“I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

 

Lord,

I don’t want to waste any more time on pavement, I want to live that abundant life that you have purchased for me. Heal my wounds and turn my eyes off of the payment and fix them on You!

 

Amen.