God Loves Ugly

Young woman in heart shape cave towards the beautiful sky

Do you ever feel that you were not good enough, smart, strong or beautiful enough? Do you think you are too much of a mess, and your “stuff” is just too much for God? Maybe you believe you’ve done too much in your life that God won’t forgive, so why bother? Have you ever felt God didn’t love you?

So many of us are walking around thinking that we are not worthy of God’s love, He takes those disgusting parts of our lives and creates new opportunities for His glory to shine. It’s like taking lemons and turning them into the sweetest lemonade. God takes all our deception, the guilt-ridden, shameful places that none of us wants to talk about into wondrous testimonies for us to be able to help others.

I learned this truth so many years ago, as I was once bound up by the shame of having multiple marriages. Even as writing I am thinking, “Do I want to tell the world my dirty laundry?” The purpose in telling you this is to expose the enemy’s grip and put God’s glory in its place!

I was attending a prophetic training where a women said, “You are the woman at the well.” My first thought was questioning how did she know my shameful past? Even though I knew that the Bible teaches that prophetic words are meant to lift us up, and yet all I felt was shame. She went on to say “You drank the Lord’s living water and have felt His unconditional love. You will share this love with many to glorify God.” This word has been instrumental in my sanctification. I am guided with the Spirit of God and completely feel the unconditional love of the Lord.

The Biblical woman at the well was very instrumental in sharing the Gospel. There are similarities between our two stories. Scripture doesn’t tell us how she might have felt but the Lord brought beauty, hope, acceptance and restoration to her even though she felt so much shame for her transgressions. Let’s see how Jesus interacted with her in John 4:10-26.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

At that moment, Jesus reveals the truth about Himself to this woman. He was just as vulnerable as she was, and I want to believe that Jesus didn’t want her to feel alone in her transparency. The Son of God knew she was a lovely woman who deserved the truth to know God loved her, and that she wasn’t just the woman with five husbands. He chose her to go and tell the people about His goodness by sharing their encounter, and she went down in Biblical history as an evangelist. The prophetic word I received revealed that our stories don’t end in the test, but live on in the testimonies of God’s goodness we get to share with those in our path.

I can remember broken pieces of my childhood. I suffered from a lot of painful heartache and trauma that left me wide open to find relationships with incompatible people. It was like the song “Looking for love in all the wrong places” was written after my experience. It goes something like this:

“Well, I’ve spent a lifetime lookin’ for you; singles bars and good time lovers were never true. Playin’ a fools game hopin’ to win; I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, Lookin’ for love in too many faces, searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreamin’ of.”

I was destroyed from this grief, trauma and damage from things in my past. I desperately wanted to be filled up with wholeness again, to have the shattered pieces of my life go back together, but I didn’t know how. I felt defective, fractured, injured and crippled. I believed a man’s love could repair my dismembered self. If only I could be loved, be married and have that “Ward and June Cleaver” relationship with 2.5 kids, everything would be normal, and the pain of the past would cease.

My warped thinking took me many years to work through, and I endured the pain of suffering through several failed marriages. I believed the lie that I was suffering the consequences of my actions. Divorce, more hurt, more pain and, of course, the shame of this echo blemish called multiple marriages. I suffered along with my children and family from my choices. I cannot take back the fact that I chose to marry several different men and the baggage that came with them; however, with God’s help, I could learn some valuable lessons and restore my hope for a bright future. God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you and they are not to harm but to give you a hope and a future.”

God didn’t stop loving me and wanted me to know it. Even in my darkest moments, He kept on pursuing me and still does to this day. God worked all of my messes into valuable tools used for His purposes, and if you let Him, He will do the same for you.

You might think of your mess as the end, but God sees it as merely a detour. When you have veered off track, the Holy Spirit guides us right back to righteousness in Christ Jesus. When at first we don’t succeed try, try again, as the old saying goes. God works all things for good according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God is always waiting at your front door desiring to have an intimate relationship with you. It’s your choice to open the door. God loves you and is smitten by you. He is wooing you this very second because of who you are not what you’ve done.

God loves you like good parents love their children. Even though children are not perfect and often break the rules, parents love them unconditionally. The same is true for God. He simply loves us unconditionally. This is beautifully illustrated in the Bible when Jesus loved the woman at the well.

God’s love for each one of us is unstoppable and unshakable; His love penetrates tribulation, distress, persecution, pain, difficulty or any crises that we might face. Our job is to invite God into every area of our lives. Sometimes is easy to compartmentalize our lives. For example, we can invite God into areas of our lives that are all neat and tidy, but when we haven’t dealt with a painful area, we are not ready for Him (God) to be involved because it looks a little messy. But God loves us no matter what, and the reality is that He sees and knows all anyway. You actually have nothing to lose by asking Him into a bad situation; however, you have amazing things to gain if you will trust Him with your mess.

Psalm 36:7 says, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.” Can you imagine what it would be like to find shelter in the midst of your storm? What about letting Him guide out of your wilderness? Or what would it be like to be released from the prison of our mess?

The truth is that I am not the guilt and shame from my past. I have been sanctified by the love of God and was created in His image. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, and the great news is that you can be too.

God loves me when I’m beautiful or ugly, happy or sad and in spite of anything I ever could do or say. I am His beloved daughter. I am His royal princess, and you, my friend are also a cherished member of God’s extended family. Beloved, It is my prayer that you will let this blog take root in the hurt places in your heart. May you come to truly know that God’s love is unconditional.

Beloved one, if it is time for you to truly receive God’s unconditional love to strengthen you, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith in God’s truth and trust that God’s word will never condemn or harm you in any way.

Prayer:
Father God, I thank you that you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize that I have come into agreement with the lie, I take responsibility for believing that ______________ (fill in the blank). When I believed the lie, I felt _______________ (fill in the blank). I repent for entertaining negative thoughts and renounce the lie. Father God, I ask you to replace the lie with your truth. I thank you for your forgiveness and for your unfailing love. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I break any agreements I made with the enemy and ask for a fresh revelation of my identity in Christ. Amen.

Questions to pray and ponder:
Have you felt that God couldn’t possibly love you because of past mistakes? If yes, ask the Lord to lead you to some Scriptures that you can memorize to understand God’s immense love for you.

Has guilt and shame caused you to feel unwanted, unworthy unlovable? Remind yourself of God’s sacrifice. Meditate on all that Jesus did for you when He went to the cross. Let this example of unconditional love you fill all your heart wounds.

What are some ways God has shown me that He loves me?

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Divine Encounters

tired passenger

I had just taken a sip of my Starbucks tea when a young woman plopped down beside me. I could immediately tell this girl had a good heart, was full of mercy and had a call on her life to help others.

We were both patiently waiting for our planes to board. There was some idle chatter going on among the others in the waiting area, but there was something about this woman… I knew this was going to be a divine appointment.

Not long after the Holy Spirit began speaking about this girl, she looks up at me and says she’s been in Peru volunteering at a children’s school. I feel like God is showing me her heart as she talks about how these kids suffer from disease and poverty. I’m impressed at this young lady who sees through all the bad circumstances and can tell the children are happy, despite their environment. Exposed now is her mercy and heart for others. What would the Holy Spirit do next?

She’s a pretty girl, black hair, little to no makeup. Behind her glasses, I begin to see there’s sadness in her eyes. Something deep inside of her that is dark and haunting. I knew right then I was supposed to talk to her about the love of God.

I inquired, “Are you a Christian?” She answers, “yes,” but I can tell she doesn’t know Him well. She’s from the North, and she shares with me her thoughts that people from the South are more Godly than those from the North. I’m giggling inside when she says, “I wish I was a better Christian – like my good friend who I deeply admire.”

I smiled and said, “We will both spend our entire lives growing and learning how to be like Jesus.” I explained that the beauty of being transformed into the image of Christ – is that until we take our last breath, we will stay in the process of being “sanctified.”

She was only nineteen. She began to share details of her life with me, and I am in awe of the bravery and courage she displayed. She pours her heart out to me, and God showed me He created her to be a warrior. She was fierce. I felt strongly she’s been through some serious battles in the natural, but also in the supernatural. She’s come face to face with the enemy… she just didn’t know it.

She was telling me about being bullied in school. Her self-confidence and self-esteem suffered and then was obliterated by her parents who told her she was weak. She had watched me tell my daughter she was amazingly smart and savvy, and she said to me, “Don’t ever stop telling her that she is smart.” My heart broke.

She confessed she’d gone through a depression and had a stay in a mental hospital. I shared that the Lord was telling me she was bipolar… just like my husband was. Shocked, she looked up at me and asked, “Was bipolar?”

I smiled, and said, “Yes. Was bipolar. God healed my husband a couple years ago.” I explained how Scott had gotten better as we trusted and declared the truth of God over our lives. She’s staring at me. I could tell the enemy is telling her I am totally full of it, so I explained that Scott went from needing a high-dose cocktail of multiple medications to now being on a tiny dose of an anti-anxiety pill.

Before she could say a word, I went on to say, “I know the Lord has healed you too!”

I can tell she’s puzzled as the enemy is in her head. She asks, “God made your husband and I this way, so don’t we just have to accept it?”

And with that, I shared with her the good news of Jesus Christ, and how God secured our healing and perfect health when He sacrificed His son. I told her there was nothing about her that wasn’t perfect in God’s eyes. I praised Him for He was a good Daddy who would never purposely make anyone sick. I asked her, “Do you feel your depression is a part of you?” She nodded. She’s resigned herself to thinking it’s just who she is… depression defined her.

I looked her dead in the eyes. Quietly I told her our meeting was a divine appointment because God wanted her to know something, and as sternly and as seriously as I could I rebuked that lie off of her in the name of Jesus. I declared, “God loves you,” and shared the wonderful news that because she was created in God’s image, she was not wired to be depressed. God created her and each one of us to be happy, loved and full of peace. I went on to say that Satan was tormenting her with sadness to keep her from walking into God’s plan for her life.

I continued, “You’ve got a great call on your life. You’ve got a heart for others and will one day serve God in a major way.” She lit up. She would be a teacher. She would touch many kid’s lives. She would make a difference.

Then I shifted topics to explain how Satan operates. He is sly and subtle, dropping thoughts in our mind – negative, destructive thoughts – designed to hinder us from being close to God. He sneaks around waiting for his opportunity to strike, and his weapon of choice is the nasty thoughts that pop into our mind. I cautioned her to the fact the voice sounds like us. She’d never hear a scary male voice, and because of that, it’s easy for us to claim the lies and make them our truth.

She’s listening. She’s interested. So I continue.

“Do you believe we are made in God’s image?” She nods. “Do you believe the Word of God is true?” She nods. “Then you accept that you were created in His image?” Her response was, “I guess so.”

“Is God capable of being evil in any way?” She looks at me. I ask again. “Is God capable of being evil in any way?”

After a slow pause, she says, “I think, No.” So I continue, “So if He is not capable of any evil, then how could He be responsible for your depression?”

There’s another slow pause. I can see her mind churning. She’s zeroed in on me – Am I for real? Am I going to crack? But as I sit there with a peaceful smile on my face, the light bulb begins to come on.

To drive the point home I explained how Satan torments with unloving, critical thoughts – ones that demean and devalue us, that divide us from God and that destroy His plan for our lives. I also warned her the enemy uses accusing thoughts to get us to blame God for the bad things that happen to us.

I spoke against the lies that filled her thoughts – the ones breeding life into her depression. I declared over her that she had been given the power to trample over all evil, and I told her the Word is clear when it says in Luke 10:19, “Nothing by any means shall harm her!”

She looked up and said she wanted to be healed. I explained that all she had to do was have faith Jesus was her Savior, and fully believe in the power of the cross! I said, “You have been fully equipped with the Spirit who dwells in you to defeat all evil. While the battle against the devil would always be in your mind, God has all ready given you victory by the sacrifice of His Son.”

I went onto to explain that our job as Christians was to discern good thoughts from those needing to be instantly trashed. “2 Corinthians 10:5 advises us to take all thoughts captive and bring all negative thoughts into obedience with God’s Word,” I said.

I asked her if she had ever heard the verse in 2 Timothy 1:7 that says, “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but have been given spirits of love, power and a sound mind.” When she said yes, I encouraged her to declare that loudly over her life every day.

Knowing my time was now short, I encouraged her to get into a good church and said, “Dive into reading the Gospel, and let the Word become the lens to which you view life through.”

When the time came for my family to board the plane, I stood up. I told her God loved her, and if she listened God would talk to her in many different ways… a stranger in the airport, a paragraph in a book, a conversation with a friend, or through a Bible verse.

I ended by explaining that God had more to say to her about who He created her to be and encouraged her to spend some time listening. I prayed a quick blessing over her and said goodbye.

Just before we walked off, she grabbed my hand. She looked at me and said thank you. And as I tailed off, I said, “Don’t thank me… thank God.” I wished her well and headed to the gate.

I love God encounters. I’m always on a treasure hunt when I am at the mall or at the airport. I love watching God’s light shine in a dark place in someone’s life. I’ve had many of these conversations over the years. There’s always a common theme as each person believes something about God and/or about themselves that has warped their thinking. I take no credit for what happened this day, but I so do love getting to be a truth bomber. I love opening someone’s eyes to God in a new way. I love watching Him come forth to touch someone’s heart. I love witnessing the moment there’s a shift in their thinking… whether it’s a lie that’s just crumbled, or it’s a shift in their perceived identity.

Treasure Hunt Challenge:
Next time you are out buying groceries, ask the Lord to highlight someone in your path that you can encourage. Take that leap of faith and watch God use you in mighty ways to bring Him glory!

More on Depression:
I also feel it is important to speak to the many who struggle with depression and sadly accept this fate as God’s plan. You feel defeated and believe you’ve been left to deal with this hurt all on your own. I’m here to set this straight.

The exciting truth is God has a plan for you. Plans created to prosper and not harm you! Plans that are designed to give you hope and a future! (Jeremiah 29:11)

The Word is clear in that you will face trials, but it is never God who causes the trial. John 10:10 warns the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but also encourages because Jesus Christ came to give you life abundantly!

It’s important if you are struggling right now with depression, that you understand God wants you set free. Depression is oppression. It torments and is NEVER from God.

The Bible is also clear that victory is all ready yours. Isaiah 53:5 says, “It was by His stripes we were healed.” Jesus healed every one of us when He died on the cross. It’s not something we are waiting for. You do not have to beg and plead for God’s will to show up. Healing is a finished work.

This is great news! You can be healed. You can be happy. You can be free. You can be all that God has called you to be, and that’s a promise that can never be broken!

 

Prayer:
Father God, I thank you that you have great plans for each and every one of us. I thank you for creating us to do your good works and creating us in your image. Father, I am not encouraging anyone to abandon treatment or stop medication, but I know your Son died so that each and every one of us can walk in health and wholeness. I am asking you, Father, to show those who are struggling with depression and mental illness that way out of this bondage. I pray that the enemy can be defeated in this way from being able to torment those who deeply need to feel your love and joy. I pray this truth will resonate with those who are hurting and lost, and they will begin to seek you out in new and exciting ways. I pray you receive all the glory for those who receive healing and for those who are out sharing your truth with this in communities they live. Giving you all thanks and praise… in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

 Never Alone!

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Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt alone, abandoned or simply forsaken? Has anyone ever let you down you thought you may never recover? Have you ever trusted in someone so much yet the person couldn’t live up to your expectations? Have you ever been so devastated by someone’s selfish actions?

I have experienced all of the above during a painful time in my life. I had just given birth to my fourth child…a precious baby girl. My life was turned inside out and backwards when my husband; the person I thought would be there for me and for our family would leave the state for another woman. Not only that, but he would take my car fifty miles away and leave it at the airport while stealing the last few dollars I literally had out of my wallet.

The pain in the pit of my stomach was more than I could stand. This was devastating. Alone and feeling desperate, I couldn’t process what was happening. I had just given birth to this man’s child. How in the world does a person leave another during such a vulnerable time? Where were the compassion, the love and the sense of duty to stick through the good and bad times?

The painful memories still haunt me. I didn’t have enough diapers for my baby girl. I recall thinking “what in this world am I going to do?” This was truly one of the lowest points in my entire life. He wasn’t a good man and had many times hoped I’d be free of him, but the way this unfolded was just tragic.

Before I was left abandoned, this man verbally attacked me. Over and over he devalued me, telling me no one would ever want me. He degraded me, and I was convinced I was not someone worthy of anyone else. I was no good. The messages of not being enough and I would be alone forever echoed throughout my mind on constant repeat.

So now he’s gone, and instead of feeling relieved, I’m wondering if I would now be alone the rest of my life. Would I now be one of those spinster cat women you see on TV? I was blessed with four beautiful children, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d be known as the five musketeers from now on. So many questions ran through my mind, and the enemy was right there throwing so much chaos at me I didn’t know which way to turn.

I had felt abandoned and isolated as we had just moved out to the country. I was now away from the city and in a town of 600 people and cow pastures everywhere. I felt like I was on a Green Acres episode, and my name was Lisa. “New York is where I’d rather stay, I get allergic smelling hay.”

Ironically the town we moved to was called Godly. Hmmm… maybe this wasn’t a coincidence in my life. But at the time, all I knew is I had no husband, and I had no idea where God was.

Jesus tells us to call upon Him in Psalm 91:15. The promise is God will not only answer us, He will free and honor us! However, I cried out and could not hear or feel His presence. His Word instructs us to call on Him, yet all I heard was deafening silence. This only confirmed the ugly lies my husband spoke over me as I now believed I wasn’t worth of God’s love either.

But it would not be long before I would have an encounter that would show me the truth that nothing can separate us from God’s love. After husband left and I cried out to God, He showed up in a powerful way. His healing restoration started working in my life when a co-worker called and heard the loss in my voice. I guess it was too difficult for me to hide the feelings of devastation and betrayal. I didn’t have to hash out my feeling as this co-worker simply asked me if there was anything he could do to help.

I didn’t want to ask for anything, but my newborn baby girl only had a few diapers left and wouldn’t make it through the night. Reluctantly I asked if he would mind bringing me a couple of diapers. He came quickly with a big box and just comforted me. No expectations… just kindness.

Isn’t that just like the Lord? In Psalm 34:18 it says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God was right there, and He sent me someone to comfort me and freely provide the compassion and resources I desperately needed.

This experience taught me several key lessons:

  • God is always listening
  • He will always answer our prayers, even when we don’t think He is
  • He is always for us
  • I am His daughter, the daughter of the King
  • I am loved by God

People are all human although some don’t always act in the most humane ways. We will make mistakes. Some will fail us, disappoint us and hurt us. There is only one who will never abandon, and that is Jesus Christ. In fact Hebrews 13:5 tells us that Christ said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We are never alone.

And to make sure I knew I’d never be alone, God brought the co-worker to my door. That man, who showed me such sincere kindness, ultimately became my husband. And we have been happily married now for 16 years. I was never left to be the cat woman, and I was never left alone to single parent my four kids. I was given the desire of my heart.

John, my spouse, is the most kindhearted, compassionate, loving, responsible man that calls my children his own. He even adopted them and gave them his name… a reflection of how God adopts us when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior.

Even in my darkest moments, when I thought I was rejected and abandoned… I was never alone. The truth was then and is now simple: my God is always with me, and He is also always with you.

You might be going through a devastating experience right now, I can tell you from experience that our God is there with you in the midst. You might not be able to see Him, but let me assure you, He is there.

Even if you feel far from Him, He is there. Believe the scripture and believe me when I say, He will never leave you or forsake you. You can count on God when everything else might be chaos. Don’t listen to the chatter of the enemy, but instead listen for God’s still small voice and be comforted in His presence.

Courageous one, if it is time for you to receive God’s love, assured that He will never leave you or forsake you to strengthen you, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith in God’s truth and trust that God’s word will never condemn or harm you in anyway.

Father God, I thank you that you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize that I have come into agreement with the lie, I take responsibility for believing that ______________ (fill in the blank). When I believed the lie, I felt _______________ (fill in the blank). I repent for entertaining negative thoughts and renounce the lie. Father God, I ask you to replace the lie with your truth. I thank you for your forgiveness and for your unfailing love. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I break any agreements I made with the enemy and ask for a fresh revelation of my identity in Christ. Amen!

Questions to pray and ponder:

  1. Can you remember and describe a time in your life when you tried to hear God’s voice but couldn’t hear Him? What is one verse you can find that could help you in the future so that you never feel alone again?
  2. What are some lies about God that you might be believing that could be causing distance between you and the Father? What verses of the Bible could replace the lies with God’s truth?
  3. How can you usher in the presence of God to hear his voice clearly? Challenge yourself to ask God a question, sit quietly and wait for Him to answer. Make this a regular practice and watch Him draw near to you as you pursue Him.
  4. Do you know in your heart that God is a perfect Father? If you are not sure, reflect on His goodness and recall times He has shown you He is always with you.