Grace to You Hands

Grace to You Hands

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Blog

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http://gracebrakes.com/2013/03/31/eyes/

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You never know what God can speak.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Father and Son

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Growing up, there was a song that my dad would always play on his guitar. I knew the words to it before I could walk. It’s a Cat Stevens song called “Father and Son”. It’s about a dad letting his son go be a man and a son’s want to leave and be a better man. You may know it. Every time I hear it, I am filled with a barrage of emotion. It reminds me of SO many memories but the one memory it conjures the most were those times I began to get to know my dad as a little girl. Every time he played and sang it, I would listen to more than just the lyrics. I would hear what made my dad think, feel and dream. It was like every note offered me a tiny fragment of his innermost thoughts. My relationship with my dad has taken on many forms since I was a young girl. We have shared many conversations and many arguments. However, my dad and I are tethered to one another. I can talk to him for hours and it feels like 10 minutes. I know my Father. I get him. We are connected somehow as all children are to their parents (whether they want to be or not-lol).
Recently, my dad stunned me with insight I had never grasped on the phone the other night. It stimulated a path to revelation I had not even begun to consider. Revelation that has truly, instantly changed me. As my dad spoke and I listened, I began to understand how the Father of all creation relates to His son, Jesus. I began to understand how they are tethered and how I am invited in to that union. I am one with the Father through the son. I began to know what my Father God thinks, feels and dreams by listening. The Word of God is his song and you are a child invited to listen to the innermost thoughts of God the Father.
I don’t know about you but the Bible confuses me. If the Bible has all the answers, then why don’t they organize it differently with tabs that answer a direct problem. Like a tab for “debt, sickness, depression, marriage, weight loss, etc. Wouldn’t that be wonderful. Bam-instant answers. Sometimes I just see my Bible on my coffee table or ignore my BibleGateway app because it’s just not something I have the time to dissect. Lately, I have approached God and His word a bit differently. I have been directly asking for answers. I have boldly entered the throne room of Grace that I might obtain mercy and help in a time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) I boldly asked God to give me the Bible tabs that meet my need.
See…I want a place to live. My house was foreclosed on in 2011. I left for VA and left my home to renters. I lost a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house because 4 tenants ran out on rent, never paid a power bill and the recession worsened. I was left with nothing to pay a $985 mortgage that had backed up by 3 months. I had to let the house go. Losing that house damaged me. It made me feel embarrassed and irresponsible. I live in 700 square feet now and am ready to expand. Getting married and want to get back what was stolen from me. Right now, my living conditions are wild and I need more space. For the last 3 three months, I have complained. I have made everyone miserable. On top of that, I decided to fix it. I scoured Craiglist, Trulia, Hotpads, etc for hours. Made appointments with realtors, completed applications for 3 houses and was denied all of them. I complained the entire time until one day I got God involved. I asked him, “Why has my situation not changed?” and he led me to Hebrews 4:10. He said my labors were not to fix my situation but to labor to enter His rest. I told God his “tabs” were broken. I wanted John 14:14. I wanted a “anything I ask in His name and it will be done for me” answer. God said we were getting to that but I was thinking wrong. God revealed to me that I was trying to fix my situation and muster up options that would make me feel more stable. All I was saying aloud was my circumstance. I was constantly complaining and looking for ways to make it better. As soon as Hebrews 4:10 landed in my spirit, I began to see my situation differently. I began to see a way of escape and note the positive. I asked God to put positive words on my lips and to change my outlook. Get this-the situation got better. My prayers became praises and I began to find rest despite dramatic changes to the circumstances. However, I still live in the same space. I want a better space. I know God has better for me.
My colleague (the most dynamic woman I know) shared Isaiah 32:15-20 with me:
Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured
down on us from above (weep and grieve in the flesh, receive blessing by the spirit, not by might)
And the badlands desert grows crops
and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert. (It was unjust that 4 people did not pay me rent.)
Right will build a home in the fertile field. (Righteousness declares that I will be given what the evil one stole.)
And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace
and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood— (Been robbed 4 times where I currently live.)
in safe houses, in quiet gardens. (I can never keep flowers alive on my balcony.)
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut,
the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a blessed life,
planting well-watered fields and gardens,
with your farm animals grazing freely. (I have 2 dogs that deserve a yard to play in.)
God gave me a specific scripture for my situation. God was telling me two things: 1.) Let me turn your complaining into promises. 2.) Let me turn your schemes into visions.
The promise in Isaiah proclaims that I live in undisturbed places of rest. However, I still have another question for God-”How do I believe for this?” He said, “you don’t, it’s who you are.”
My dad and I are chatting. He knows nothing about the house or me plotting to move. He is just talking about what God is showing him and he says, “Brittany, the precious promises of God are yes and amen for your life. God wants you to live in ”a peaceful neighborhood—in safe houses, in quiet gardens…” I stopped him immediately. I said how did you know that scripture? He said, “it’s a sure promise for your life.” It was the same dang scripture. Seems to me God wants to give me John 14:14. He needed me to stop complaining, stop laboring and start accessing my God-given right to the best!
What is our God-given right as followers of Christ? How vast is our birthright, our inheritance? It’s more than what Jesus experienced on Earth as the Son of Man. John 14:12 says, “The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing.” We are carrying on the Father’s mission he started in the Son (John 17:18-19). We are here to reveal the Father, to bring Him glory. What did Jesus say to his mother and father when he was supposedly lost? “I am about my Father’s business.” We are about the Father’s business and we do business the way Jesus did business. We come into the realization of who we are in Christ. We are led by the Way, the Truth and the Life to the Father. The more we understand our identity in Christ, we begin to understand who we are and our purpose. Colossians blatantly defines our connection to Christ by saying in verse 19 of chapter 2: “Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us.”
I was confused. I asked God, ” How can we be children of God and ‘in Christ’ at the same time? Either we are one with Christ or we are children.” God answered me immediately and it stunned me. “Brittany, you are to me what Jesus is to me. The same relationship I have to the Son of God seated on my right is the same relationship I have with you.”
Selah.
Stay there a minute. Let that marinate and saturate your spirit. God is saying throughout the New Testament that we are one with Christ. He is literally saying that you are a participant in the relationship between Father and Son. You are to live in that union and your life be a living representation of what that unity creates. When knowing and accessing by faith your birthright, you are entering into the possibility, the reality of a life’s mission that mirrors the life of Christ. Jesus lived it. Proof. You and I can live it too and see “greater works” because he sits at the right hand of the Father with death as His footstool. Every promise, every decree to obey, every dream, every obstacle, every unknown begins and ends in Jesus, the author and finisher, Alpha and Omega.
My life is changed. How did Paul write Colossians in a jail cell and be filled with untold, unspeakable joy? How did Jesus for the joy that was set before Him endure the cross? How do I have joy and expectation for a peaceful neighborhood and a safe house? How do you receive this unspeakable joy and unswerving faith in the midst of a daunting, treacherous situation?
Sit at His feet. Listen to him speak and sing over you. Listen to His heart. Ask him questions. Wait. Listen. Speak. Receive. See!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pieces of Peace

I love to put puzzles together. Geeky hobby, I know. But, I am not ashamed to say I find it fulfilling.

Puzzle How-To:

Step 1:
Choosing the puzzle.
This is the best part. Your puzzle choice depends on two key factors: difficulty and reward. You choose the number of pieces and the design that will be the final product. HUGE decision.

Step 2:
Lay out the pieces, one by one. Sort them into similar patterns, colors or shapes.

Step 3:
Begin framing the puzzle with only end pieces.

Step 4:
Fill in the gaps.

Step 5:
Search for the lost puzzle piece under the table, chair or rug that has inconveniently ruined your perfect picture.

Step 6:
View your masterpiece.

Question: Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this process? It's tedious, cumbersome, frustrating and impossible. When you are staring at 1000 mismatched shapes that swarm your card table, you begin to question your excitement in Step 1. You begin to feel overwhelmed. However, nothing will interrupt your commitment to making all the pieces make sense. You will make it work. You will make sense of the chaos. You will put in the hours, lose the sleep and turn off the cell phone. All for what? The brief 30 seconds you admire the product and then think what to do with it. Who created puzzles, anyway?

But...that moment when you match a piece to another. That moment when the chaos becomes order and it all makes sense. Wow, that's beautiful. It's a moment where you succeeded. You made sense of the disorder and begin to see the big picture. You immediately return to the chaos to find another "matching" piece. You know it's out there. You know this becomes something beautiful. It has to. You look at the cover of the box and believe, hope even, that the irregular shape in your hand has a partner, has a purpose.

You're thinking, "Blah, blah, blah. Ok, I get it. My life is like a puzzle and I need to find my purpose and allow God to make me a beautiful masterpiece. Heard it before."

Look at the word "Masterpiece". Compound word. "Master" and "Piece". There are a lot of pieces to you. A lot of pieces organized into neat piles, processed and identified. There are many pieces of you that are lost under the card table hoping to find their way back. There are many pieces of you that are ready to conform and some that are unwilling to fit. Yet, the pieces all do make sense. Your disconnected, broken places make sense to the "master" of it all. He takes pleasure in your chaos. He marvels at your disarray and delights in the creation of you. No matter how broken you are.

Be at peace tonight that the pieces that comprise the whole of you are beautiful, dynamic and perfect. You are quite a masterpiece. Your purpose is found in the broken, lost places. That is when the Master can put you together. Make perfect sense of it all. Enjoy the process of you. The process to determining "what its all about."

I told me dear friend today that I am a "need to see the big picture" kind of person. I like knowing why, how and when.

You know, I won't see the big picture until I take my last breath or hear the trumpet sound. I might as well enjoy the quiet, miraculous moments when one piece meets another and I begin to know myself, trust myself and love myself a little more.