Basic RGBIt has been a long time since I last posted here or on Social Media.  I struggle a lot with social media and blogging for our business. Trust me, I’ve had a million marketing people tell me how valuable it is to grow a business, how it’s free advertising and it’s not that I don’t believe all of that to be true.  I wrestle with it because I know as a new start-up in a horrible economy we need to grow our business and make money to keep going, but so much of the social media world feels so fake to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m 45 and therefore have very likely lived past my halfway time on earth, but I feel such an increasing urgency lately to not waste time on stuff that isn’t real and of eternal importance.  Which makes much of social media pretty empty and meaningless to me. I’m taking the chance today, that writing this is time well spent. That someone reading this needs to know truth and that they are loved.  And this life is about something far greater than us. I get nothing out of posting this (I’m certain those same marketing people would say it’s a terrible business move –perhaps bordering on suicidal), but it’s what I know to be right.  When you’ve received love and forgiveness you don’t deserve, it changes everything. And that’s why, as we start 2020 I feel it is important to share my heart with anyone who cares to keep reading. If you don’t, no worries, but please let me still wish you a very happy 2020!

 

Are you too messed up?  Too far gone? Never get anything right?  Good at messing up everything and anything?  Someone who feels pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things?  Would it be impossible for anyone to love you if they truly knew you? Do you feel invisible at times?  Are you just waiting for that one thing in your life that once it happens, your life will finally be good?   Assuming I’m not the only one who has these thoughts, my story might resonate with you. 

 

I’ve spent much of my life thus far struggling with my identity.  Anyone who has ever survived High School knows we are quick to label one another.   The labels include things like, the good-looking one, the smart one, the popular one, the athletic one, the funny one, the kind one, the artistic one (the list as I’m sure you know goes on and on).  Although I have times when I display attributes of a few of those (definitely never the athletic, good-looking or popular ones) it has never been to an extent that I believe someone else in my High School would’ve labelled me one of those because no matter how good I was, there was always someone better.  What I might’ve been labelled by others is awkward or a nerd. I’m still both of those things, but the only difference today is I generally accept those classifications proudly. However, having children enter school and hanging out at school events with other parents, shockingly can quickly transport me back to many of my same childhood anxieties of not truly fitting in anywhere.  

 

I am a fortunate one.  I had loving parents and because of their real relationships with God, I witnessed from a young age what accepting Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and what giving him first place in my life really looks like.  I’ve had doubts about my faith at times, but those doubts get less the more I learn and spend time in my Bible. God has been changing my heart and my life for years, but it feels to me it has been on a faster course since 2015/2016.  In the fall of 2015, I had what I can only describe as a falling in love (truly in love) with God. Time spent in His word (the Bible) became so precious to me and I couldn’t explain at the time why it suddenly did. The following summer I started to question what was the purpose of it all. If I was never going to stand out, be the best at anything except messing things up, what was really the point of my existence?  Why was God wasting His time on me?  It wasn’t that I was suicidal or anything like that. I didn’t want to end my life, but my life felt really small and pretty unimportant. I’ve loved God and I have wanted to serve Him and give every part of my life to Him; but how was I really doing that and worse still, was I allowing my husband and kids to be able to do that in their lives? Was what we were spending so much time and energy on going to mean anything when we were dead? (Which in truth felt like it was coming soon for how exhausted we were feeling, spinning our wheels with our small business trials that never left us for long and somehow always seemed to know when we were planning to take a vacation).  It wasn’t long after having a very raw & real conversation with God about this that our life started to crumble in more ways than we possibly could’ve imagined. Now not only could I do nothing right, nothing in our life was going right. I literally remember feeling like the world was crapping on us. It was really tough, long days that turned into months and then a year. Remembering that time still brings me to tears; the pain was very real and hard to get past, but I now cherish that time. Not that we overcame and our life is now grand and glorious and free of problems because trust me, it isn’t. But I cherish that it showed me who God says I am and that His word is true.  Because of those days, I know that even if I never succeed at anything by worldly standards, I’m valuable and my life matters. My value isn’t found in what I can do to make a difference in this world, but in whose I am. And I know that when tough, painful, hard to get out of bed stuff comes again (which it will) as horrible as it will be (and it will), I will be okay as long as I have God. He is all I need or will ever need. My fulfillment will never come from anything else. Thankfully He is the only one capable of what, to us, is impossible. I’ve been seeing in the years since those horrible days just how good He is at using my failings, imperfections, and pain to create beauty way beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined.  If He can do it in a mess like me He can for sure do it for you.  

 

I hope you know what it means to repent of your sins and ask Jesus into your heart to have a personal relationship with Him.  If you don’t, please don’t feel embarrassed or bad. Truthfully I think you are in the majority. Sins are the things we do that are wrong (unless you’ve stifled your conscience too much you likely still get a good idea when you are doing something wrong).  Check out the 10 Commandments in the Bible found in Exodus chapter 20 for the complete list, but common sins are lying, stealing, using the Lord’s name as a cuss word including OMG, and making idols. Now although I’m doubtful you are carving little idols to put around your home and worship in 2020, if you are like me you are still guilty of this. You see, when you put anything in your life before God (self, pride, money, career, relationships are just a few common idols), or when you create your own God you are comfortable believing in, that just so happens to think and act exactly as you think they should, you are creating and worshipping an idol.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what it means to be a Christian and have a relationship with Jesus in our culture –truthfully even in many churches. It gets oversimplified or turned into something far too complex in my estimation. I’d love to meet face to face with you if you ever want to talk about this.  My Eye Live workdays are generally Wednesdays & Thursdays, but please do call ahead or email me at eyelivepraying@gmail.com to book an appointment as I’m not always completing my work in the office setting.  

 

All I know is walking with God in every part of your life isn’t easy, but it is so worth it and I so desperately want that for everyone.  This world is tough and often cruel, but God’s love for you is available for you to find rest & peace in. He loves you. He can forgive you of any sin.  You can never be too broken for Him to repair. He will never leave you or stop loving you. You can never turn your back on Him too far to come back. I’ve heard people say they could never have a relationship with Jesus because they aren’t wanting to lose their freedom, but I’m here to tell you that’s a bald-faced lie of the devil!  Daily walking with God is true freedom. The freedom this world offers you is enticing, but always eventually leads to bondage & emptiness. I wish I could make the choice for you, but I can’t, only you can decide to truly let God in. God will not force you to love Him, that isn’t real love, and He’s definitely not a God interested in anything fake.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 6:18 that it is impossible for God to lie. Lies are not part of God’s character nor are they anything He wants any part of –He is all about truth.  

 

I know you will have no regrets if you open your heart to Jesus in 2020.  And I really hope you will because time is precious and short and the consequences of continuing to reject Him are very high and unthinkably horrible.  They have to be, He is a just God. None of us is good, we all break His laws it’s just the way it is with our sinful hearts. But Jesus paid the penalty for us, but it’s only ours to receive if we believe and ask Him to forgive us, and we choose to truly love and follow Him.   None of us know what this new year is going to hold for us. Please make 2020 a life-changing and life-saving year. You matter so much to Him and to us also.     

 

Hoping you and yours will find the real truth and joy in 2020!

Marla

 

For any wanting to learn more about the Bible, I suggest the following resource as one that has been very helpful to me  https://www.versebyverseministry.org/