Full Circle

Just Wait and See

 

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Life is an interesting journey. Things have a strange way of coming full circle. I have no idea how that happens sometimes. I mean seriously it is mind boggling! I would love to be less vague but I cannot at this time justify doing so. Just trust me. Mind. Blowing.

I got to thinking about God because well, He’s awesome so why wouldn’t I think about Him? Anyway I was thinking about God, and I realized that He always wins. I am sure that this is not an earth shattering revelation however it is true! God always wins! Even when it looks like He is loosing or has lost somehow He changes things and wins!

So today I was on my way to return a movie to the Redbox and I was nearly creamed by a truck the size of Jupiter. Seriously it was massive and blue. I drive an Altoid tin on wheels (also blue) and if that tank sized behemoth had stuck me I would have been a pancake. Her F350 would have barley had a dent, my Yaris would have had many. Those little cars save on the petroleum but boy howdy do they damage easy! I would know. Trust me. Not only did I somehow defy the laws of the universe and not become a watermelon in Gallagher’s Sledge-O-Matic line up, BUT when I slammed on my breaks there were no cars behind me. None. It is the third of July. Just that is a miracle. She saw me and floored it as slammed it and we missed each other. As I accelerated back to my normal 55 miles per hour I saw a herd of cars approaching behind. It was quite a thing. Through the process of all this blood pumping excitement the audio cable that connects my phone to my car radio snapped in twain. *insert weeping face* Bummer.

So I went to return my shiny little circle to the big red box and as I passed the electronics department I thought I would spy the cable situation. A very nice gentleman directed me to the place I needed to go. A replacement cable was only five bucks! Done. I got it to the car and realized it was actually better than the one that had just broken! Praise the Lord. You see? Even when we loose God works it for good and we win! Yay!!

Now I understand if you don’t quite see the connection I mean a tiny audio cable situation is nothing compared to the loss of a car, home, job, marriage etc you can’t possibly compare them, but you would be wrong sir! The principles of the Kingdom of God are transcendent! Woman what are you talking about? I will tell you! I mean that they apply across the board! If God can turn the audio cable debacle into a blessing than He can do that with anything big or small. Why? How? He is God of EVERYTHING!!! He is the God of all of creation from Cains Majoris to the Higgs-boson. He knows it all. He made it all and He is in it all. God is good. He never ever does anything bad ever, so even when the bad things happen God redeems it. It is His nature because He is GOOD! Jesus is the largest most in your face example of that. It looked like He lost big time and God made that the largest victory of anything ever! Jesus rose from the dead people! In doing so He changed everything forever. He paved the way for His bride to return to where she was always meant to be. We (humans) are His bride. We are meant to be by His side. Jesus is our Redeemer and our Redeemer lives!! We are redeemed! We live in victory! Even when it looks like we lost I promise you it won’t stay that way.

I promise if you feel like you have lost, if you actually have lost something, if you are in the depths of sorrow and you have no idea how things could ever be anything but awful, and dark and poop it will change! Lift your eyes and see your Redeemer lives! Things will suddenly shift. You will look back one day and weep with gratitude. You will look back and see that He was always there doing what He does, turning defeat into victory, evil into good, ashes into beauty, and death into life. I promise. I can do this because I know He won’t ever fail. He will not let me down. He never has and He never will.

People like to ask “Is there anything that God can’t do?” Usually they ask this because they are being a pill and trying to get a rise out of a person but I digress. The answer to the question is yes. There are some things God cannot do. God can’t lie, fail, leave, abandon, kill, destroy, steal, or be evil. God is a good father. He can never ever be a bad one.

That is how life comes full circle. God’s goodness. God’s goodness is the driving force of the universe. Eventually all this stuff will be nothing but beautiful. Just wait and see.

-R.

 

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2016

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Lessons

Life has been changing a lot lately, and also staying the same. I have been struggling through some difficult things. The end of a relationship. Valentine’s Day. 😒 The wedding of a dear friend in Hawaii, my first plane ride, and all sorts of other big things are happening. Needless to say I am feeling all the feels. ALL of them.
I have been uninvolved in ministry for a year and a half now. The longing to return is strong and deep. I ache. I feel the call tugging at my heart, pulling me back in that direction. I can see it off in the distance but it is still it is not close enough to touch, I want to lunge at it, but I feel the gentle pressure of my Daddy’s hand holding me back. I hear His voice whisper “Not yet. There are still lessons to learn.” I SO want to rush ahead and just get there already. I want to jump back in so bad! I feel ready to join the team I miss so deeply. I am longing to share what I have to give, and do what I was made for. The struggle is very real. Like really for real, real.
There are all sorts of big things happening for some dear friends and I am so excited and grateful to see it, but I am also very much on the outside looking in. It would be so easy to feel left out. In fact it is really hard not to feel that way, and sometimes (despite my best efforts) I do. I sometimes find it very hard not to feel sorry for myself. Can you relate? I mean honesty, sometimes it seems like the universe is just set up to make self pity impossible to avoid… or is that just me?? I am learning through that I am not a victim of circumstances, instead I am the master of them. God has placed His royal authority upon me, and I have the ability to reign in life. I can also choose to wallow in sorrow and be a victim of life’s splenetic fashion, or I can rise like the warrior princess that I am and choose joy. I can choose peace, truth, and love. I can choose to stand in the authority that being a child of God affords me, and speak to the mountain and sculpt the terrain of life with the faith rooted in my soul. I can stand firm and having done all, stand. This (like many things) is easier known in the head than lived out.  This is the kind of thing one must know both in head and in heart.
There has more than one occasion that has come to test this knowledge. You see this thing, that thing or the other would happen, and I would find myself starring down the barrel of a well traveled train of thought. I heard very familiar words echoing in my head and reverberating through my heart…
“They don’t need you.”
“They don’t really like you.”
“They don’t miss you. In fact they would be better off if you never came back.”
“You weren’t good enough before but now you are oceans below par.”
“You are all washed up. You missed your chance. It’s too late.”
“No one really wants you to come back.”
“You are a disappointment to everyone who knows you.”
“No one really even cares about you.”
“You can’t do anything that is important or special.”
“You have no more songs to sing. Your voice is too loud anyway.”
“Other people can write much better songs than you.”
“You are a failure.”
“No one cares what you have to say, they only listen because they are being nice.”
“You have missed your chance.”
“Give up.”
“No one really knows you, and if they did they would not look at you the same way.”
“Just leave. No one would care.”
For a moment I stood frozen on the tracks . I stood staring at that train of thought, of self loathing, pity, and hatred coming right for me. I held in my hand the ticket to ride that frequented train, then I did something new. I stepped out of the way, tore my ticket to ribbons and let it go right on by without me. The next time something happened that gave me a to ticket to ride that train I was much quicker to step out of the way. I am not going to ride that train of thought anymore. I am not a victim of life’s cantankerous moods, I am a child of God. I matter to Him.
I have come to realize that I need this time of tension, this season of wanting to return and staying quiet. It is so important. The really cool thing is that now I see how crucial this time is for my heart to completely heal. I need to see big exciting things happening without me in the middle of them. I need to know that my fiends are my friends outside of ministry, and that they still want to hang out with me just because they like me and not because they need me. Really they don’t need me. I had the privilege of being along side them in life and I took it for granted. My friends are amazing and I miss chasing dreams and bringing heaven to earth with them. The thing is though, I need to really experience what being valued by others is like when I am not doing a darn thing. I need to learn how to genuinely celebrate that God is doing big things for others when it has nothing to do with me. I am learning that when I see a long dearly held dreams of mine happening for someone close to me it does not threaten the possibility of it happening in my life. You would think after going to so many weddings alone for so many years I would have learned this by now.
I also now understand that this tension is the only way to untangle my identity of who I am from what I do. I am not what I do. I am not what I give. I am not how well I sing, write, pray, or give someone a timely word. I am not ministry, and I am not my church. I am not a human doing. I am a human being.
I am the daughter of the Most High. I am a child of the Mighty King of all kings. I am not what I do. I am a child of God. I don’t need to fear being replaced. I am the only person God made like me. (Can I get a hallelujah?!) Sure other people can do the things I do, and they can probably do them better and you know what? That is okay. My value CAN NOT be rooted in my talents and intellect or my ability to be “the best”. The world is positively saturated with talented brilliant people because every single human person is made in the image of God. God is magnificent! Hello?! I mean how can people not be amazing??!! Being threatened because someone else is awesome is such a huge waste of life. I can’t allow my self worth and identity to be founded in my gifts because other people have the same gifts, but NO ONE gets to have the connection and relationship with Daddy God that I do. No else gets to have the love story I have the the Great Lover of My Soul. Only I feel what happens when Holy Spirit moves in me. The Love of the Father is where my identify and value need to be planted . My relationship with my Father is the only safe harbor of my soul, not my abilities, talents, or how much I am missed when I am gone.
Though this process has been hard and has had more than its fair share of dark nights of the soul, I have learned that God is my source, strength, comfort, fortress, shield, safe place, teacher, lover, provider, and shepherd and so many other amazing amounts of goodness. I have also tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord. Man! He is so good. God is love. God is good. God is faithful, and God is there. God is always, always there.
If you feel God beckoning you to go where you have never gone, please trust Him. I promise if you stay with Him you won’t regret it.
I was terrified to let go of ministry, I was afraid of being left behind, forgotten and replaced. My fears were not true. They were stories I told myself because I had no idea who I was. I would have missed out on such rich deep goodness if my feet had remained on the track of self loathing, pity, and destruction. Sometimes letting go of something can be tremendously scary even when it is killing me because it has become my sense of normal. Self hatred is not normal. Constant fear is not normal. Thinking that everyone is secretly upset with me and just waiting for me to mess up so they can get rid of me is not normal. That is bondage and it is deadly! I had no idea how bound I was. I thought I was doing so good, and I was but I had some deep wounds that just weren’t healing right.
When I was nine I got my face kicked by a teenage boy and the impact broke my nose. When my nose bone healed it healed crooked. Now I have a slight breathing problem at night and sometimes snore. Also I very easily get sinus infections because of my nasal passage being a little off. In order to have that problem fixed I will one day have to allow a physician to once again break my nose. I know that a broken nose is one of the longest most painful healing processes. It was over a year before my face felt normal. I know one day I will have to face that pain again, but it is the only way my broken nose will ever truly be restored.
This process has been like that. My soul has experienced a breaking and it has been good. It has not been easy, or comfortable, but it has been worth it. I may want to rush ahead but I have learned to trust God’s no. Even His no is good. So good. My soul is still healing. God (the greatest physician of all) is watching to make sure as things heal they are all lined up.
He is a good good Father and I know that I am His daughter and nothing will ever tear that from me.

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©Rachel Anne Redfield 2016

Head Lice

I’m sure you are wondering where on earth I am going with this one. Well you can read on and you will see! 😉

As you may be aware head lice exist. They are gross. I wonder why on earth God invented them, but I digress. When working in the field of early childhood education one risks exposure to many bugs, and lice (which are actual bugs) are one of those things one may get exposed to. I recently (within the last few months) was exposed to and caught them twice. I have waist length thick hair. Getting head lice is basically my nightmare which unfortunately came to fruition. When I came to terms with the reality that I had them a while back I was very very VERY upset. In fact after talking with my momma I sobbed for twenty minutes. I was worried we might have to cut my hair. I was worried about using a chemical pesticide on my sensitive skin. I was worried about having to miss work. I also wondered which child had given it to me and how many others might have it. I was worried about a great many things.

Worry sucks. If you let it, worry will suck the joy, fun, contentment, majesty, wonder, beauty and life right out of you. Worry is like a python. At first its grip isn’t  so bad, you can still breathe, but then the pressure builds and builds and builds until you die. People think that pythons squeeze the air out of their victims, the truth however is that the external pressure becomes so great that the heart of the victim can no longer pump blood, and the blood flow stops. No blood=no life.

Lice feast on blood. Creepy little bugs. I don’t know if I mentioned this but I had head lice? Yeah the first time I discovered I had them I had a pretty bad case. I had likely had them for a couple of weeks so I had a lot. SO MANY!! Insert weeping sounds here. I was not the only one. We had three cases, and then about a month later we had two more, and I caught them again too. Fortunately I caught it at the beginning and only had two bugs on my entire head and one egg. (Praise the Lamb!!)

Things Got Smelly

Recently… In fact just a half hour ago I treated myself again. My head has been pretty itchy and it turns out I just have dandruff. This brings me back to worry. Every time my head itches… EVERY time I have an internal conversation with myself. ‘Okay Rachel that is the exact same place that itched a minute ago. You have eczema remember? It is flaring right now. Look at your face. You know that is all it is. Clam down.” Still there is this little voice that says “What if…” It’s a trap! A trap that I fell into. Don’t fall into the trap.

Here is yet one more thing I learned from head lice: My parents love me. For reals. When I was first exposed my Da went to the nearest store as soon as it opened and bought me a lice killing kit, and my momma spent over ten, TEN hours treating and combing through all of waist length hair until her body could no longer remain upright. Then the next night she went through it all again to make sure all the eggs were out. I then checked her and to my horror discovered she had a couple bugs on her head. So I combed through her head too. My Da combed my hair every night for two imageweeks, once a week for two weeks and has since done so again a few times so that I could be absolutely sure I was in the clear. This can take almost an hour. My parents love me. They may not have gotten everything perfect but they love me.

When I found lice on myself and two other kiddos, I and the other teacher checked our kids everyday for a couple of weeks. In order to make sure that we don’t end up with another epidemic I have taken to checking the kids every Monday. I have remained diligent. Even though it had been over a month since our class had three cases I still checked  every single week. This last time there was an outbreak our class was clear. This got me to thinking. Do I do that with my thoughts?

In 2nd Corinthians 10 the bible says ‘…for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ…”

For years, so many years I have struggled with knowing the love of God in my heart and also in my head. I knew God loves me. You know yeah God loves me, I need to eat my vegetables and exercise. Blah blah blah. It was like a fact that floated around in my brain, but I wasn’t quite sure it was true. You see as I grew up somewhere back there when I was a wee little thing I got it in my head that there was no God, and if there was He hated me. When I came to the point in life that I accepted God was in fact there I never really dealt with the second portion of that way thinking. I have, since the beginning of my walk of faith struggled with the love of the Father. It makes no sense. Seriously the grand, resplendent, extravagant, unrelenting love of God makes no sense to my brain. I began to see that in order to walk with God I needed my heart to be part of the equation and that is when I got stuck.

When I gave my life to Jesus I fell madly in love with God, yet deep in the jungle of my heart there was a mighty fortress that was setup to destroy the truth of Father’s love for me. A giant lie from the pit remained standing tall: God hates me.

I loved God with all my heart, yet all the while in the deepest part of myself I believed God hated me. I was always trying to do more, to serve God more, to be better so that maybe He would like me just a little. I was always so worried that something would happen and I would fall short, or be left alone desolate. I drove myself mad trying to undo this belief that was buried so deep, yet I would never face it. I didn’t even realize it was there. I was not willing to do what was needed to actually make it better. You see I had to let God in. I had to trust Him with my ENTIRE heart. I had to let Him have it all… even the parts I was afraid of… even the ugly gnarly bits. Even the dark scary parts of my wild heart the contents of which I knew not. He wanted access to it all.

Did you know that your heart has thoughts? Well it does! It is a scientific fact. The heart contains 40,000 neurons. Neurons are brain cells. Part of your brain is in your heart, and there are a few in your stomach too, but that is irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion. The bible says in Proverbs 23:7a For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So deep down in my heart I thought God hated me. I thought when I was a wee tiny girl God hated me and that terrible lie grew up with me and became a gigantic stronghold. That lie became a hiding place for the enemy of my soul to lie to me and work to destroy me.

I tried so hard to be good. I thought I could work or think my way to be good enough. I worked and worked but never felt at peace. I never felt loved by the Father. I never felt loved by my family, or friends. I felt hated, and I was sure that if someone didn’t hate me yet it was only a matter of time until they did. I even hated myself. I tried not to because hate is not something a good Christian does, but honestly I did. I hated myself.

A few months ago, about two weeks before the first head lice incident I finally gave up. I surrendered. I told God He could have all of my heart; all the nasty gnarly bits, and the dark scary places that I didn’t know the contents of. I was chocking and gasping through my tears as I gave it, but I gave it all to Him. I finally gave God my ENTIRE heart.

I had no idea what was going to happen next. Honestly I was a little freaked out. I was in uncharted waters. I still am in uncharted waters but I am no longer afraid, I know that I am not alone. The repercussions of that moment are still unfolding and I don’t know who I be when the dust settles, but I can say that from that moment forward nothing was, nor will it ever be the same.

It is incredible how different things look now that I have allowed God to have everything. He has used head lice to show me that my parents love me and so many other things. He used the end of my relationship to show me that my church family loves me, and I am not alone. God told me the week before the head lice that everything was about to change and boy He wasn’t kidding.

Life is crazy, messy, and chaos. Life is glorious, radiance, and beauty. God is so incredibly good. He can take any awful ugly thing you give Him and turn it into the most beautiful work of art you couldn’t have imagined. God is glorious. God is gracious. God is love.

God works miracles, and He brings beauty out of ashes. He can turn brokenness into love, and He can turn head lice to lessons. He works all things for good.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

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Breaking

Beauty4AshesMy heart is broken. Someone else has a heart that is broken too. I am responsible for that. It really is that simple. I never wanted that to happen. I am sad that I have hurt him and even though he hurt me first it doesn’t matter. I take no solace in harming another person. It was unavoidable. It was inevitable. There was nothing else I could have done differently. It matters not. I hurt him, and I am sad. I am sad and I am sorry.

What a mess.

Messes are tricky. They are a difficult thing to deal with. Sometimes a mess can be so big that one does not know where to begin to even clean it up. I have learned that in such cases it is best to just start. It dose not matter where. Just start cleaning.

I know that I have made the right decision. I know that it was what needed to be done. I know he and I will recover and it is for the best. I know all of this yet still there is an aching in my chest. I feel a bit like Lash from Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has attacked. (All the nerds out there will understand. For the rest of you just imagine a monster put a big hole in my chest.)

out-of-the-ashes1I am aware that I am on the right path and that I have a bright future. I am surrounded by so much love. God is so deeply good. I could try and run away from the pain. I could try and stuff it all down, not talk about it and eat fried food and chocolate until it stops, but I am not going to do that.  I am going to feel the pain. I am going to walk through the pain. I am going to live through the pain. This time as I face heartache I am going to make a different choice. I am going to talk about it. I have talked about it. I am almost sick of hearing myself talk about it, but I need to. If I am going to heal and move forward with life I need to talk about it.

Having a broken heart sucks. Breaking someone’s heart sucks. It is a lot to process. It is a lot to make peace with. Still in the midst of all of this I am learning:

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3

I am learning how to connect with God in a way that I have never experienced before. I feel loved by God, by my family, and my friends and it is real. Love is real and for the first time in my life I feel it. I knew people loved me in my head, but my heart wasn’t so sure. I had a duel going on inside of me. That duel has been settled and love has won. I no longer feel alone in this life. I have never felt that way before. Ever.  It never ceases to amaze me how God can bring such breathtaking beauty put of such breathtaking devastation.

He is a good good Father.

a-crown-of-beauty©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

What If…?

What if…

What if I had done this, or said that? What if this had not happened? What if this had happened instead? What if I never…? What if I always…?

Chances are that if you are a human with a conscious mind you have had these thoughts. I have in my life been plagued by these thoughts. I have come to realize that this track of thought is a trap. Taking inventory of mistakes is important so that I can learn from them. It is valuable for me to comb through the mess I have made and see where things went wrong, however the moment that I take those mistakes and say what if… Boom! The trap is sprung!

It is so easy to go about life and forget that there is an enemy out there roaming around seeing whom he may devour. I forget this all the time. I don’t forget this because I don’t know it, nor do I forget it because I haven’t known the attacks first hand. I forget because I am reasonable and logical. Reason and logic are useful tools but are often at odds with the realm of faith. I get so wrapped up in what is right in front of my eyes that I forget there is a world unseen.

I recently went through quite the life event. I chose to begin a relationship. At first it was wonderful but pretty soon there were more than a few bumps. Looking back I can now see that there were warning signs long before that. There were little knocks on my heart; checks in my spirit like blinks from the lighthouse on the shore that there was danger ahead. I ignored all of that chalking it up to apprehension, fear and inexperience. Maybe there was nothing to worry about. Maybe it wasn’t moving too fast and getting too intense too soon. Maybe I was feeling anxious about the pace of things because I was afraid of getting hurt. I was afraid of getting hurt after all. That is partly why I haven’t dated before this point in my life. Fear. Fear that it would turn out just like it did.

You know you would think that after everything I have learned about self fulling prophecy in regards to my weight I would know better but apparently not. Back in high school when I was the weight and size I am now I used to feel and think that I was the size and weight I eventually became. You become what you behold. Anyway I digress…

I was always afraid that if I ever allowed myself to fall in love that I would get my heart broken. I finally came to a point in life where I was willing to risk my heart being broken by allowing myself to possibly fall in love. I met this man who seemed like he might be okay so I gave it a chance. He seemed to really be interested in me. I had never experienced anything but rejection and he was pursing me, and he was so sure I was the one. He had a past, but who doesn’t? Anyway I do believe in redemption so as long as a person is open and humble about their past then that shouldn’t be a barrier. Unfortunately he wasn’t completely honest about everything and as is always the case with secrets it came to light. I had been lied to by the man I had fallen in love with. I was devastated. I confronted him. It was over. It was hard. He tried to explain, and I was willing to consider giving another chance but after seeking the Lord and counsel it became crystal clear that was not what God wanted. After the first initial shock I began digging around myself, and found out some other things… It really was over.

My heart was broken. He was not honest with me, and I could no longer trust him. He seemed so genuine. I thought… well you know.  My heart is still broken. I am very aware that I am single now and the holidays are coming. Awesome.

So now I am combing through the ashes trying to figure out where it went wrong so that I can learn all I need to from this mess, and as I have done this came the questions: What if…?

What if I am making a mistake?

What if I am wrong?

What if no one else ever comes along?

What if I end up alone?

What if I never have children?

So I did the only sensible thing. I took these questions to my Daddy. I also ate some chocolate. This is how the conversation went:

What if I am making a mistake?

-I told you no. Why would listing to Me be a mistake?

Well duh. That one was just ridiculous. I’m sorry.

What if I am wrong?

-You are not wrong. I told you I would confirm  it. I did remember?

Yes.

What if no else ever comes along? He is the only person who has ever pursued me. What if I end up alone? What if I never…

-Stop! Don’t give into fear. Can’t you see that you are allowing the voice of fear into your head? You are allowing something more dangerous to take root in your mind as well: doubt. That question is a trap. You are allowing doubt to come in and to limit your understanding of my goodness. My goodness has no limits! Rachel my darling daughter my goodness toward you has no limits.

——

Wow. That was a moment. Mind blown.

Did you catch that?! God’s goodness has no limits! God’s goodness toward His beloved children has NO LIMITS!!

“Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will open. If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?” -Jesus (The Sermon on the Mount)

He is a good good Father.Fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015