How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A God Without Rival...Who Do You Believe He Is?

One evening some decades ago, I was sitting with a beloved mentor in her living room.  We were taking over how I felt about God.  Who did I think He was?  How did I feel He thought of me?  She made me face something that began a journey of knowing God better and truthfully.  You see, when I answered those questions without fear of judgement, in a safe place, with a safe person, I could say what was a fear deep in my soul...I was terrified of Him...He couldn't be trusted...He could love and bless me one moment and crush me the next.  I feared Him alright, but it was not the awe-inspiring kind of fear; it was a horrible gnawing fear of being punished but not knowing what in the world I was being punished for.  I walked through life with a dark cloud over my head, continually ducking for cover and trying my hardest to stay safe, unnoticed, and perhaps good enough to "stay out of trouble."
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After this gut-wrenching confession I had dared not reveal to anyone, this sweet woman looked at me and asked, "Cherri, was your dad an alcoholic?"  I was shocked.  I grew up NOT talking about our family's problems.  You didn't say anything to anybody.  How could she possibly know?  But Dee was one of those dear, wise and wonderful Christian women who kept in touch with the Holy Spirit within her.  She began to speak truth to me about the Father, and though the change of heart did not happen instantaneously, my heart did change and continues to as I learn more and more about who God truly is.

What I found is I had, without even trying to, transposed my experiences with my own earthly father onto my Heavenly One.  My dad was a great dad when he wasn't drinking, so I had no problem with believing God could be good, kind and affectionate.  However, this same father, who I loved dearly, could turn into something completely different when he drank.  No physical abuse, but plenty of verbal, and it never made any sense to me. This cartoon is actually a pretty good depiction of what happened in our family.  When dad drank, he saw everything...even his kids though the distorted view of the bottle.  I grew up unconsciously dividing my father into "good dad" and "bad dad."    This carried over into my relationship with my Father God.  I loved and trusted Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but God, in my mind, could be a mean one at times and you never knew when it was coming.  Scary.
 

One of the attributes of God I have recently been sinking my thoughts into is His ability to be "over" time.  It is a wonder to me to ponder the truth that God is every bit as present in my past as he is with me right now as He is in my future.  Think on that a bit!  Last year at a Living Proof Conference, Beth Moore, said something I cannot forget...that because God is omnipresent in our past, present and future, we can ask Him to pour healing out on those things that hurt us in the past and have had repercussions in the present, so they don't have power over our future or subsequent generations!  WOW!  This is a weighty thought!  

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My prayer for myself and for you, dear friends, is that we would be delightfully surprised by God as He reveals who He is to us daily.  Augustine said, "God is best known in not knowing Him."  I had to think on that one for a bit, but I think I get it!  This life we live, no matter how many days we have, can never possibly get to the place where we can say, "I know God completely and perfectly."  He wouldn't be infinite, unfathomable...He wouldn't be God.  There is ALWAYS more to learn about this great and loving Creator!  What an adventure!


How about you?  How do you see God?  How do you feel about Him?  How has He delighted you?  Which of the "I am" statements about God on pages 39-41 in Without Rival means the most to you right now?

I hope this week has been and will continue to be a blessed one for you!
Cherri

**You will find a bit of my dad's story in the blog post, "What if What We Think is True is Not True at All" here: https://togetherweareonewisewoman.blogspot.com/2015/07/

9 comments:

  1. Thank you Cherri...I really needed to hear this today ...I am asking God this second to heal me of my past experience with my parents being both alcoholic and helping me to stop thinking the alcoholic ways are normal ...please heal me Lord Jesus Amen ����❤️

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    1. I am praying for you too, Macy, that He would pour His healing out on that hurting little girl and that you would feel His presence. I have watched you be such an inspiration to others...you have really given me wise counsel and insight into situations that have come up in my life. Your Lord is with you, my friend!!

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  2. Absolutely beautiful Cherri, and truly your experience is something I can relate to on so many different levels. The comic you showed me was eerily familiar, and I can see from your expression of your experience in relation to your's with God that mine too was shaped by my context. The difference for me was that I knew always that God was loving but always felt like I wasn't good enough, not perfect enough, not striving enough. For me, a life changer was at the DV when Pastor Albert Tate came and spoke on John 3:16. This pivotal sermon showed me that God loved me regardless; that I was perfect in my own flawed way just because I was HIS daughter. To understand God's unconditional love for the first time in my life softened my heart and made me feel the security I needed to put myself in the vulnerability of making my life and self an active stewardship and fully embracing people in a way I had not prior. I know have a sign I made myself in its imperfections hanging on my familyroom wall among all my sons' and husband's photos that simply says John 3:16. It's the main center of my home and everyone who bounds onto that wall sees it displayed quite simply there; John 3:16, nothing more, nothing less, because in that verse is perfection, our Father's everlasting, all-encompassing, fully embracing love. With that gift, life has so much beauty, so much nurturing. In this knowledge, I was able to find forgiveness and just let go of not just the hurt but the need for my own family to be more. And what a blessing that has been to my relationship w/my parents and my own family, and oh wow, what a blessing has it been to me and my own healing. Here's a link to a similar sermon Pastor Tate has given. I sought him out recently to find a copy of this life-changing sermon so that I could share it or revisit it myself when needed. I hope this all blesses you in anything you might need:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NKW0q-0Ruo

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    1. I SO remember that powerful sermon of Pastor Tate's!!! I hope he comes again sometime to teach us again! Thank you for the link and also for your thoughts on this post. I think the idea of simply putting John 3:16 up on your wall is perfect.

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  3. Today's post is just coming directly from my notes that I wrote as I read...

    "We are positioned to identify with God based on who he is, not who we are. This means I am who he says I am . . . I am loved and I can love . . . I am alive . . . I am capable . . . I am mighty . . . I am wise . . . I am . . . I am who he says I am" (Kindle version 49).

    I am because of Christ. I think I need to center myself on his peace and love, his example and testimony. I always try to live in perfection for all parts of my life, try to be the best, which I of course fall short of because of the very essence of being human. However, if I live in Christ, in His peace, His love, His example of just simple goodness, then, I think this will ease pressure off me, and in turn, I will be that much better. He didn't have the goal to be perfect; he just loved and made himself about life, love, and leading and helping others. And yet, He was perfect. So, perhaps, if I focus on the simple and pure example I see in Christ of just that gentle smile and nurturing love, if I live in that intentional and purposeful embodiment of Christ, I will be less than perfect but oh so much closer to Him and His amazing grace.

    How do I see God?
    I did and do see Him as my father. Before this reading, I saw Him as my loving protector, my guide. But now, I also see Him as my empowerer and in some ways, my mother, allowing me to be my best but also putting His gentle hand on my hand telling me to have peace and just be me.

    Thank you Lord for loving me in all my imperfections! Thank you for always guiding me and being the one to ease my soul. May I be the woman you have set for me to be Lord. May I help people with a full heart in the capacity you've set forth for me God. I approach this next journey of life with anxiousness and trepidation because Christ, I just want to help others and empower more people to do the same, knowing that you're with me in this Lord and that you just want me to love helps to give me direction! Continue to place your hand upon me and whisper for me to be at peace, centered in love. All I want Father is to spread YOUR love and share my testimony of YOUR amazing grace! Thank you Jesus for all of your love!

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    1. I love your prayer, Angela!!! May this sweet, powerful prayer be for all who read it! Blessings to you, my friend!!!!

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  4. I love the fact that God loves us all uniquely. We don't need to compare ourselves to someone, anyone else. For me, I want to be my best with His help, for His glory. Someone will always be richer, younger, prettier, whatever. We just don't need to worry about that.

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    1. Lynn, I felt that too when I read it! I LOVE that last line..."We just don't need to worry about that." Amen, sister!!

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