One Brief Encounter

copy-dance14.jpgHer pain, her shame and her own sense of worthlessness, and the memory of it all, was suddenly, once again, upon her.  For years she had masterfully crafted out a lie that she told herself, and others. She had believed her lie and lived by it her entire life, and now it was over. Running and hiding–pretending and denying reality–were about to become a thing of her past. In one brief encounter, with a man she had never met, she was completely and fully exposed. In the blink of an eye, she was never again to be the same.

Hold that thought! I want to show you something, but first, consider the following story from John 4:

7. A woman from Samaria came to get some water. Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8. His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.

9. The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” She said this because Jews don’t have anything to do with Samaritans.

10. Jesus answered her, “You do not know what God’s gift is. And you do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked him. He would have given you living water.”

11. “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t have anything to get water with. The well is deep. Where can you get this living water?

12. “Our father Jacob gave us the well. He drank from it himself. So did his sons and his flocks and herds. Are you more important than he is?”

13. Jesus answered, “All who drink this water will be thirsty again. 14. But anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give him will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life.”

15. The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty. And I won’t have to keep coming here to get water.”

16. He told her, “Go. Get your husband and come back.”

17. “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18. The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is very true.”

On what appears to be a chance encounter, this woman meets a man at a well who asks her for water. He seems to know her whole life’s story. With kindness and compassion he approaches her and draws her into conversation. A conversation which eventually addresses her deepest secrets and her inner most need. Certainly, she is aware of her own heart’s desires and longings. She must know where she lacks and hurts the most. But, how does he? In a simple statement he reveals something she has been running from her whole life. He says, “Go. Get your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replies. Jesus says to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is very true.” (verses 16-18)

Pay attention to what is being revealed here–five husbands and the one she is now with is not even her husband! This truth demands that we look beneath the surface. I cannot help but wonder about her and what is going on in her life. What is truly driving her along this destructive path? Did she struggle with her value and worth? Did she look to men to fill her need for love? Did she believe she was worthless with no real significance? What inner wounds and traumas drove her that demanded healing?

We can only imagine the answers to our questions, but the answers are not really the point. The conversation between this woman and Jesus is revealing and exposes things about us as much as it did this woman. We all have a story to tell, just like she did, we all have experiences in life that have wounded us in numerous ways. We might go looking for love in all the wrong places, we might find ways to numb our pain–we might turn to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, work or shop-till-we-drop, but the point is, we are searching for something to quench our inner thirst. This deep inner thirst must be quenched at all cost and sometimes the cost might be at a cost far greater than we are willing to pay.

In one brief encounter, in the blink of an eye, without judgment or condemnation, Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter. Gently, He guides her to see what she needs to see the most. Her deepest desire, her need, her thirst, was a spiritual need. It was about her inner, spiritual journey and not just about her external physical desires. Our tendency is to focus externally to find what satisfies. Jesus redirected her to look inside to find what truly satisfies.

What answer does Jesus offer her for all of her pain? We are given the answer to that question in John 4:10, when Jesus tells her He will give her “living water.” What He offers is none other than Himself. He recognizes her pain and all her longings and He points her to Himself. In essence, He is telling her that He is the One that satisfies; He is the One that loves her, He is the One that gives value and worth—He is the “living water!”

No doubt, our journey is physically here on this earth, and at some point in time, will involve healing from past and/or current wounds. BUT, the journey is still about our spiritual need first and foremost, as well as what satisfies and what does not. I do not dare make light of anyone’s emotional or physical pain–I’ve moved through my own, but I can say with certainty, our longings, our desires, our thirst, reveals something to us about our spiritual condition, and the answer is always the same.

Only One can truly satisfy and heal us where we are wounded most, only One can truly quench our inner thirst, only One can truly love us the way we desire to be loved, only One can give us value, worth and significance. Only He, Jesus, the “living water,” will quench our thirst!

God bless you and may you never thirst again!copy-dance14.jpg

Kiki

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

 

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Amazing Grace

Girl in Field of flowers shutterstock_24343759I read an excellent post today on a blog called, Joyful Musings, titled Grace-Filled Families-Part 1, & Part 2. The author, Barbara Moon, is teaching how to raise a grace-filled family, with the ultimate goal being that of introducing our children to the love, acceptance and grace of God.

In her post, Barbara, defines grace as, “favor that is not deserved.” She goes on to say, “Giving grace to those around us draws them to God and His ways. Children who grow up in a family filled with grace are more likely to want to know God.”  She further states, “a home without grace leads to “perfectionism” which breeds many other problems down the road.” Beautifully stated, and I can’t agree more! This post hit home with me on many different levels and caused me to reflect on my own struggles with perfectionism.

I developed an attitude of “perfection” early in life. My perfection or performance was designed to give me the acceptance, love and value I deeply desired. After many exhausting years, I came to understand that perfection/performance actually blocks out love and grace. I was unable to let the grace of God enter into my heart. Why is that? Because I knew the ugly truth about me–I wasn’t perfect! The lie I believed about not being perfect caused me to hide my face from God, instead of embracing Him and moving towards Him!

I lived out my life believing I was trapped for all eternity in the lie of perfectionism. It was not until I admitted the truth and started letting go of the lies I believed that I was able to accept the love and grace of God. Then, and only then, did I begin to heal as His love and grace entered into me. Love and grace are intended to draw us towards God and not away from Him. As I stated above, perfectionism/performance blocks out love and grace.

In her post, Barbara, further states that perfectionism is a “killer of joy,” and leaves a person believing they are “unworthy, unimportant and inadequate.” I find this statement to be absolutely true. Not only do we believe these things about ourselves, we assume God and others see us this way, too. Instead of living and operating from grace in our own lives, and in how we relate to God and others, we assume and believe we are totally unacceptable, unloved and of no value or worth. The bigger tragedy is when we begin to expect and demand perfection from other people because of our own faulty beliefs. When we live as if we are perfect then we expect no less from others. Nothing will wound and damage our relationships quicker than demanding and expecting perfection from the ones we love and care about the most. We become like puppets on a string or robots at best. We go through the motions and we perform; however, there is no life in us!

It has been an incredible discovery to realize that perfection is only found in God Himself. He never expected nor placed the demand of perfection onto us. The truth of this discovery has been both healing and liberating. Without His healing touch I’m convinced I wouldn’t have survived. That might sound extreme; but it’s not, because perfection is a destroyer of life and is destructive beyond words. It truly threatens to consume and destroy everything in its path!

I am so thankful for the unconditional and grace-filled love of Jesus! Without the healing of His grace and unconditional love, I wouldn’t have allowed His love to penetrate my wounded and broken heart. His unconditional love and His amazing grace are gifts freely extended to each of us. The only thing we have to do is, by faith, through Christ Jesus, accept what Jesus has already done for us! Since the beginning of time, God’s plan and purpose has always been to draw us towards Him. His desire is for us to enter into an intimate and unconditional love relationship with Him–He desires our company–how amazing is that!

God bless you and may you know His amazing grace! Girl in Field of flowers shutterstock_24343759

Kiki

P.S. I do not pretend to know all I need to know about love and grace; nor, do I “perfectly,” live from grace. But, the good news is I do not have to! We are a work in progress and daily we are being transformed (changed) into the likeness of Jesus. And, I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8

The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Barbara Moon’s blog, Joyful Musings

Lies, Deception And Other Tangled Webs

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Lots!

PTM.org  Plain Truth Ministries, teaching God’s amazing grace!

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Love Is Golden

Barkley Christmas2009-8210

As we travel through life what an awesome privilege it is to be able to experience both receiving and giving love. It’s what we are meant for–being loved, receiving love and giving love. If we are fortunate Barkley enough, we learn to excel at both and one day discover our love relationships not only come through other people, but often times, from the most unexpected places–such as a love relationship with a loyal and faithful pet. Indeed, the greatest loves of our lives can come from these most unexpected places!

I found love from a most unexpected place through a Golden Retriever, named “Sam.” Sam entered my life during a particularly dark and difficult time, yet she was able to reach inside my inner world and connect with me like no other. She taught me things no person could teach me. She reached places no person could reach. It was as if she instinctively knew me and what I needed. Knowing Sam convinced me that God created dogs for a specific purpose and reason. God used Sam to open wide the chambers of my heart and allow my broken heart to begin healing and experiencing unconditional love.

Sound crazy? Probably not so much if you’ve known and experienced the healing love of a great dog. There is not quite anything like this magnificent and marvelous kind of love.

As you think about the healing I received through my dog, Sam, consider the attributes of God, and His nature that He sends us through the creation of His furry friends, and what He might be wanting to reveal to us through them:

  • Love
  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Faithful
  • Friend
  • Forgiving
  • Trusting
  • Trust
  • Unconditional
  • Loyal
  • Devotion
  • Joy
  • Gentle
  • Patient
  • Kind

Can’t you see it… can’t you catch a glimpse of God’s nature and His love? I can!

Animals, along with all of creation, reveal something about the character, nature and attributes of God. I believe animals hold a special place within all of creation and that maybe, just maybe, we do not begin to fully know nor understand all that God has planned for us unless we include all of His creation!

Certainly, our animals can become a critical part of our stories as we journey towards healing and wholeness. They will teach us things about ourselves if we are willing to listen and learn. And yes, they teach us about God’s great love and passion for us. And yes, God can work through something as pure and simple as a dog. If we learn nothing else from our faithful and furry friends, we should learn to receive the kind of love, where nothing is expected in return–through them we can learn to soak in the fact that we are simply loved!

God bless you and may you see Him through all He has created–even through the unconditional and forgiving love of a dog!

Kiki

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, my daughter, son-in-love, granddaughter and grandson unexpectedly and painfully had to say goodbye to their Golden Retriever, Barkley.

Barkley, sweet boy, this post, Love Is Golden, is in honor and memory of you. There are many things about you that I will remember, but mostly, it’s your kind and gentle spirit and your unconditional love that I will miss the most. You eagerly awaited to be loved by us, while you gently loved us, always figuring out how to get your head rubbed! You tried your best to convince us that you were trying to love on us, but, in reality you were getting your own love “fix!” 

Then, of course, there was your great love affair with food–especially chicken–lots and lots of chicken! You displayed great patience as you sat by our side and waited until you got your share of chicken. Turkey was a favorite, too! How I remember the time you waited so patiently, as you stole the Thanksgiving turkey right off the kitchen counter, claiming it as your very own!

It seems like yesterday you came to us, and in nine short years your time here is over. You leave us with many memories and thoughts to ponder as we lovingly grieve the loss of you. You became part of us–you will always be remembered–you will always be missed. You, Barkley, were a good boy, a faithful and loyal friend.

I will forever remember you and Sam as being best friends–tell Sam, I send my love!Sam & Barkley

BARKLEY

Your love was golden!

May 5, 2003 ~ December 24, 2012

SAMANTHA “SAM”

Your love was golden!

May 21, 1997 – November 29, 2007 

Sweet girl, everyday, I miss you!

20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Roman 1:20

FYI: Should you be interested in learning more about what God says about animals as part of His creation, and what we might expect at the loss of our most-loved and treasured four-legged friends, then I invite you to read more in Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven”, Chapters 39 & 40.

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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My Father’s Voice

There are times when life’s circumstances seem to jump out at me in a way that leaves me frightened, confused and all alone. I find myself struggling to make sense out of my life and the world I live in. All around me people are experiencing fear, doubt and confusion; nothing makes sense and life seems uncertain and all hope seems gone.

During life’s uncertainties, my default response, is fear. Now, with that said, I do not stay in fear–I just seem to go there first and then eventually I dig my way out. Does that sound at all familiar to you or is this struggle mine alone?

I’ve come to discover, when I’m living in fear, there is something I am believing that is not true. I’m reminded how critical it is to identify truth and discard any lies that I do believe. These are the very lies that leave me trembling in fear and confusion. Yet, there are times when these lies actually feel as if they are the truth, and the truth feels like the lie. I’m realizing that just because it feels true, that doesn’t make it true. To regain my balance and perspective, I must ask myself several questions: What lie am I believing? What is the truth? Where must I go to find the truth?

Today, I once again struggle with this whole issue of fear and find myself digging through God’s word–the Bible–looking for what He has to say. I’ve decided the voice within my head that makes me fear is not the voice I want to listen to and certainly not the voice I want to believe! As I dig into His word, I realize, I’m looking for my Father’s voice. I need to hear what He has to say, not the world’s version of the truth, but what does my Father say? He is the one I want to listen to, He is the one I want to believe, He is the one that will calm me and take away my fear as I lean in and listen to His voice.

His voice is the voice of truth and not lies; love not fear; hope not hopelessness; conviction not condemnation; grace, mercy and acceptance not judgment and performance; unconditional love not selfishness; life-giving not death-giving; encouragement not discouragement. These are the things spoken by my Father. When the world around me is falling apart before my very eyes, His voice is the one that brings back my balance and perspective and removes my fear and replaces it with His perfect love.

Yes, life’s circumstances are forever changing and uncertain. But, if we are listening to His voice, our fears begin to calm and we are reminded of His ever-present help in times of trouble and His constant and faithful love. Then we shall remember–He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. He holds us by our right hand, we do not need to be afraid. Our hope is in Him and Him alone–He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice and His unfailing love surrounds us!

God bless you and keep you in His perfect peace and love!Bible w:Hand

Kiki

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Hebrews 13:6

For I hold you by your right hand — I, the Lord your God. And, I say to you, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:13

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33:20-22

Contrast of voices from Barbara Moon’s blog “Joyful Musings on Thoughts We Have”

“The Truth About Lies and Lies About the Truth” by David Takle

“Lies, Deception and Other Tangled Webs”

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Simple Faith and Plain Truth

1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. 1 Timothy 2:1-10

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Shattered But Not Broken!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. 

I know you remember that old nursery rhyme! Who doesn’t, right? The way I see it, Humpty, who happened to be an egg, was minding his own business, enjoying life, when he fell off a wall. Having fallen, he was shattered into tiny pieces. In fact, he was so shattered, he seemed to be beyond repair.

That old riddle often came to mind during the times I felt the most shattered, the most broken and wounded. There was a point in my life when I could not imagine that my shattered pieces could ever be put together again. I could not see how something so shattered could ever achieve wholeness. Just as in the nursery rhyme, my thoughts were–if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the pieces together again, then who could? It appeared, that was the end of Humpty Dumpty. But, was it?

I would like to share with you the following excerpt, from The Life Model, Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You, by E. James Wilder, et al., Chapter 1, Pages 15-17, which outlines the journey or path towards wholeness, where our shattered pieces can be put back together again. The following speaks to what that journey might look like and how it can be achieved.

It has been said that God is not the great magician–He is the great physician. That saying addresses a question which people need to think about clearly. Whether fixes from God are always “quick.” People typically seek the quickest way out of pain, which is understandable. Pain, of course, demands immediate attention. A more mature approach, however, is to seek God’s redemption in the middle of the pain, asking Him to bring healing into our wounds–(which can be a much slower process). God does His work in us, pointing us toward wholeness, even while we are in pain. But it is not simply His work; it is our work too. It takes maturity and tenacity on our part to achieve wholeness, and that means persistently dealing with our pain.

There may be times when we are not in a place where we are free from pain, but we can still experience God’s amazing redemption. An often-quoted passage in II Corinthians 12 describes how the apostle Paul learned a key lesson. When he was struck with a tormenting problem which did not go away, even though he pleaded with the Lord three times, he got an answer he was not looking for: God works through weaknesses. What a profound discovery–he learned to delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. The good news of the Gospel is that God wants to be with us in the middle of our struggles. That is precisely when He exercises His strength in us. Paul learned to let God be in charge, and to stop asking God to end his hardship. God’s strength flowed through Him because Paul stopped trying to be in control. He let God take over, and God was able to use him more effectively. Paul could delight in suffering because he found it was an opportunity for God’s strength to work through him.

Central to the Christian experience is an unchanging belief that God is at work in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), and that means all things. He is particularly at work when we are stuck in pain that seems to be endless and meaningless. The time-honored Christian approach to pain and wholeness involves our activity as well as God’s: His work in us is to bring redemption to all of the traumas that have broken us, and our work is to strive for maturity as we progress to wholeness.  The word “redemption” is sometimes difficult to understand, simply because it is used in so many contexts. Here is the way it is used in The Life Model: Redemption is God bringing good out of bad, leading us to wholeness, and the experience of God’s amazing power. Redemption means that out of our greatest pain, can come our most profound personal mission in life.

The biblical understanding of wholeness is succinctly described in the first chapter of James. We are instructed there to consider it pure joy whenever we are in the middle of suffering, because that will lead to wholeness. Suffering tests our faith and builds our endurance, so that we can be mature and complete–not divided, but whole. James cautions that we must ask God for wisdom during this stormy process. It takes total faith to believe that God will  bring us through the storm, or we will be unable to “receive anything” from God; without total faith in God we remain “double-minded”–divided (verse 8). Wholeness comes as we let Him lead us through the storms. We are to welcome suffering because it brings down the walls in our fragmented life so that we can become mature and complete (verse 4). It is God’s intent to bring redemption to the wounded and fragmented places in our lives so that our weaknesses can be transformed into strengths. That can happen when we honestly address our pain. Suffering can lead to wholeness if we embrace it. It will take endurance and time, but the benefits are well worth it.

I look back in time and so clearly see what was not obvious to me then. I see God’s hand–His heart–in every tiny part of my journey. Although, I discovered there are no quick fixes from the things in life that create pain, there is a path to wholeness. It is not achieved quickly–it takes both time and endurance.

Yes, life’s circumstances do have a way of leaving us feeling shattered into a million pieces, and, while it might feel true, reality is, we are not broken beyond repair–the shattered pieces can be put back together again.

Although, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty’s shattered pieces together again, as I’ve discovered, and you can too, there is someone who can.

I promise you the journey is worth it!humpty-dumpty

Kiki

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me (Jesus) to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1

From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God’s kingdom was his theme–that beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. Matthew 4:23-25

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

Related Posts:

Learning To Dance

Lies, Deception And Other Tangled Webs

Up Close And Personal

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Learning to Dance

Dancing Ballerina

Much of my life I spent running from God and hiding from Him all because I feared Him. I feared Him because I did not know Him. It has taken me a lifetime to discover God for who He truly is and learn that He is not the God that I thought I knew based on my own preconceived and faulty notions.

Eventually, life’s circumstances gave me two choices as far as I could tell, and they were: One, stop running from God. Second, if not, then surely I would die! I chose to stop running and do the work laid out before me. I am here to say, it has not been an easy path, but it has been worth it. Worth it because I have uncovered the most incredible truths about God and in the process discovered the truth about myself.

God, as I now know Him, is a God of grace, mercy and unconditional love. I desired unconditional love and a relationship where I was known for who I truly am in spite of all my faults and shortcomings. I hungered and longed for a relationship where I could be real and authentic, removing all of my masks or false-faces. I just wanted to be deeply known and loved passionately. No matter what I did or didn’t do something always remained missing and hurting deep inside of me. There was a void that was constantly longing and needing to be filled within me, yet, I did not know what the need was or how to “fix” it.

My experiences in life have taken me down many paths and while I have had great joy I have also known great sorrow. During the times of great sorrow, I learned more about myself, God and others than I ever thought possible. It was during the times of great sorrow that I came face to face with God, as revealed to us in the person of Jesus, and as I let go of my fears and moved closer towards Him, I entered into the most precious relationship. I discovered a passionate God and found His passion was for me, and for you. He will pursue us without ceasing in a desire to capture our wounded and broken hearts. He will restore us and transform us so that we can receive His love, learn to love and care about ourselves, and in turn reach out and love others.

Dancing Ballerina Feet

I’ve discovered He pours out His gift of grace to each and every one of us. We did nothing to earn His grace. As a matter of fact, there is nothing we can do to earn it. No act on our part, no amount of performance, no works or good deeds can earn this incredible, and often times hard-to-understand and misrepresented, grace.

Typically, humans teach “religion”–a type of living whereby human beings try to make themselves acceptable to God through their own actions or works–God reveals something totally different and more beautiful than the human mind can imagine. Through the Person of Jesus Christ, who reveals to us the Father, we discover God’s grace, His love and His passion for us. As we discover the truth–the Person of Jesus–we begin to enter into an intimate and authentic relationship with Him. We come to know that love, grace, mercy and truth is a Person and His name is Jesus. By intimately knowing Him, as He intended, we begin to gain freedom from the lies we believe about ourselves, others and God.

We all have a story to share and this is mine. I invite you to step into my story and journey with me towards this passionate and unconditional God who loves you–and me–passionately!Dancing Ballerina

Come along with me and learn to dance!

Kiki

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! John 5:9

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8 NLT

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Up Close And Personal

Heart MendingIt can’t be argued, it can’t be debated, it’s a truth we can’t deny. We are relational beings and we are designed–created and wired–for relationship and community with God and others.

Starting at birth, every aspect of life involves relationship, beginning with the family we are born into (family of origin) which includes a community of extended family and friends.

Relationship seems like a simple fact of life, but is it? It seems to me, it is not! In reality, relationships can be all too complicated. The truth is, many of us have broken relationships and we have absolutely no idea how to mend or repair them. Some of us even have a few we wish we could escape from!

We live in a fallen and broken world–we humans are imperfect in an imperfect world–and one of the results of that brokenness–imperfection–is that our own human heart can be wounded in the process. Once wounded, without healing, we can live out of the hurt or pain from these past wounds (damage, injury, distress, grief, anguish or torment). Once this occurs, we can react towards others from this place of pain. This is not to say that others do not do or say things that hurt us and create pain, but rather, we are responsible for what goes on within us internally and how we react. We learn to ask questions of ourselves such as: Why do I react to others as I do; and, what are my triggers? Being focused externally–looking at others as our problem–will only lead to a victim mentality of self-justification and blaming of others instead of taking responsibility for our own pain.

For healthy relationships we must begin to heal and grieve our past wounds and/or trauma(s). This requires a loving and supportive community of people who have traveled this path before us. Too often, the heart God places within each of us is covered up and it hides beneath our pain. When this happens we live from a false-self. We are intended to live from the heart Jesus gave us and not the one buried beneath our pain. We are meant to move towards a path of wholeness and emotional maturity. Because we humans are relational beings we do not thrive well in life without strong-loving bonds where we are in community with others. It takes both family and community for us to live from our full potential the way God intended. See The Life Model, Chapter 1, Page 11-13, by E. James Wilder, PhD., et al.

In my personal journey towards wholeness, I am eternally grateful to those that traveled before me–your love and support mean more to me than you will ever know–and, I suspect you know who you are! Thank you for selflessly sharing your own journey, your pain and struggles, allowing me, and those like me, to receive healing and restoration–wholeness. As a result, it is possible to be up close and personal in relationship with God and others as He intended all along.

Heart Mending

May God richly bless you and may you delight in the love and passion He has for you!

Kiki

FYI: For an in depth understanding of healing from past wounds and/or traumas, achieving wholeness, maturity and life-giving community, see The Life Model, by E. James Wilder, PhD., et al.

Lies, Deception And Other Tangled Webs

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28

If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:2-8

12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. James 1:16-18

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Lots!

Daisies & Lady Bug

Come on! I know you remember the game–all we girls played it–He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not! Most of us will remember playing this little game as young children. I bet even some of you guys played it. We tried to decide if the love of our life–the object of our forever affection–was going to return our love. He or she was the boy or girl of our dreams, and we would surely die if he or she did not return our love!

How sweet and innocent those long ago days of childhood where something as simple as a flower, and a song, could speak to our hearts about love, and all that was sure to follow.

Although many years have come and gone, there is one thing I am certain of–it is not by accident this deeply imbedded longing and desire that pulls at our hearts. We crave to love and be loved–we crave acceptance and approval–we crave true intimacy where we are known for who we truly are, yet loved all the same. Oh, how we long for our heart’s desires to be fulfilled giving us what we so desperately want and need!

As I look back, I find a striking parallel with those days of long ago where I pulled petals from flowers, to see if I was truly loved–or not, and how I interacted in my relationship with God and others. In my efforts, to love and be loved, I became performance-based. I tried to be everything for everyone. My personality changed to fit the situation, or to suit others, and what I thought they needed from me. A deeper fear drove me–if someone truly knew me they would not love me. This spilled over into all of my relationships, where I lived life on an emotional roller coaster, as I worked night and day to earn love and acceptance.

While God placed within the heart of every human being the need and desire to love and be loved, it was never His intent for us to earn love. Thinking we must earn love is a burden we humans place upon ourselves and each other. We see this in every aspect of our lives, and we easily fall prey to a system of beliefs and teachings that reinforce our need to earn love, acceptance and approval. Ultimately, our longing for love should move us towards God where we find He and He alone can fully meet all of our needs.

If you, like me, struggle with performance–earning love and acceptance from God and others–challenge your beliefs and why you believe the way you do. A life of performance is impossible to live out, and it is exhausting. Search out truth, turn to God’s word (Bible) for what He says is true about you, and your relationship with Him and others. Our God is a God of grace, love and mercy, and if you seek Him you will find Him, and He will be found faithful as He reveals His truth, and His love for you!

When you find yourself pulling petals off daisies–performing to earn love and acceptance–like me, you too will be able to turn to the true object of your affection, and say with confidence–He loves me, He loves me lots!

Daisies & Lady Bug

God bless you & remember, He loves you, He loves you lots!

Kiki

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 ~ 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ~ 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:14-19

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Lies, Deception And Other Tangled Webs

Sozo

Love Letter

In Christ

Favorite Books

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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Trials To Joy

A new year brings with it a new beginning and a fresh start. That’s how it feels for me as I leave the old year behind and settle into the new. Somehow, it makes me stop and reflect on what was and what is to come. Personally, I’m excited about moving forward to see what the new year will bring.

As I settle in, I bring with me those experiences that I have learned from–the ones that stretched me in some fashion, shape or form. Somehow, these are the experiences that seem to catch my attention and teach me the most about myself and God.

Recently, I was reading through Romans when Romans 5:1-5 caught my attention. This is where the apostle Paul tells us we can continue to rejoice even when we’re experiencing problems or trials. Now, that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. My first reaction at the sign of trouble is to immediately scream and default to fear! I always manage to find my balance, but, first I seem to enjoy hanging out in fear.

Eventually, I grab ahold of the truth, and as truth promises to do peace and freedom come. Yet, according to Paul, we can rejoice during these problems and trials. Slowly but surely, I am discovering that all things I go through on this earth will teach me and refine me in some way. Paul tells us our problems and trials help us develop endurance, endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

Paul clearly intends for us to understand, that through Christ, our problems and trials can make us better people and should not make us angry, bitter people. Realizing this we can actually find reasons to praise God and even experience joy in the midst of our most painful moments.

Thank goodness life is a balance of incredible joy mixed in with those times of suffering. Both will build us up, build our faith, and if we are paying attention and watching, we will see God in all things. We will know His presence and experience His perfect peace, both of which ultimately lead to incredible joy.

As you continue moving forward into this new year my hope and prayer for you is that you will live out life expecting great things, experiencing great joy and knowing without a doubt how dearly God loves you.Girl Field of Yellow Flowers

May God richly bless you as He turns your trials to joy!

Kiki

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.  Philippians 4:6-7

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalms 16:11

You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. Psalms 21:6

Contact: Kiki @ DancingWithGod@charter.net

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