About DCD

We all make plans. I make plans. I had the next ten years of my life worked out. It seems, however, that God is taking me on a slightly different journey than I would ever have expected. So this blog is not about my dreams, but it is about the milestone moments that work together to shape me into the person God has called me to be. Join me on this Journey.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Why Not Me?

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, 
without which no one will see the Lord:
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
and by this many become defiled;"
Hebrews 12:14-15

Isn't it strange how we are born with a sense of entitlement?
     I regrettably find myself looking at the achievements of those around me and thinking, "why do they get to do this and not me? Why are they blessed in this area while I wait year after year for my dream to come true?"
     It seems the natural response. Without going into detail, I recently received news that fell directly into this category. Someone I know has reached a certain achievement that I have been working hard towards, something I have been dreaming about for months. I now sit, watching as they enjoy this reward.
     I could have accepted the fact if they had been working hard as well, but whenever we talk about it they smile and reiterate how unexpected it was, how they hadn't worked toward this achievement but it had been bestowed upon them for some cosmic reason. I smile back at them and tell them they deserved this blessing. Inside I am roaring with frustration.
    If I wasn't careful, this could have led to a deep bitterness which could have consumed me, taken me apart. But God. But God.
     I always talk about how precious God's word is to me, how I desire His presence and teaching. How I trust Him to carry me through these times, because honestly, I cannot do it alone.
     I want to take you to the moment that He rescued me from this deadly trap...

It is a dark night, the stars are hidden behind the clouds. I am lying in bed, trying to sleep. All I can think of is those words that broke me down to my most basic self, the words that unknowingly told me I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't ready. The words that told me nothing would be the same, that this joy would never be my own.

"God!" I cry out silently in the depths of my soul, tears streaming into my pillow. "God, why not me? Why cannot I have this? I did it right! I did everything right, and they won. They left me in the dust. Why not me?"

My heart pounds, my stomach aches, my muscles scream with tension. 

"God, please give me peace about this."

I wait for a divine miracle, a moment of revelation or unchartered peace, or something. Anything. I am met by silence.

Then, like the slow creeping of the sun as it rises behind a mountain to set the naturescape aglow, a warm reminder comes to mind. The words of truth bury themselves deep into my conscience.

"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I am the Lord your God. I know the plans that I have for you. My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Just wait, you will go out with joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will break into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Be still, and know that I am God."
(Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55, Psalm 46:10)

Peace didn't come immediately. I wrestled with God for days about the unfairness and the various complications that will result of this moment, but I have reached a point where I can say that I trust He knows what He is doing. I am still tempted to ask, "Why not me?" Now, though, I try to combat this thought by asking God this instead:

     "What do you want me to do now?"

     He has a purpose for each of us at every point in our lives. I hope you are encouraged to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. The question will always hang, and there may be no immediate answer, but try to trust that God is working on your path to lead you in the way that He knows you will make the biggest difference.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Honouring Two Bridegrooms

Is my loyalty divided?

     I tossed about in my bed last night. The lonely howl of wind and the echo of raindrops upon the rooftop kept my mind awake, my eyes dry, and my muscles tense.
"I don't have enough time." I whisper into the cool night air.

     I don't have enough time to read the Word of God. I don't have time to pray in my secret place. I don't have time to rest in my Bridegroom's loving, strong arms.

     I don't have enough time to spend beside my fiancée. I don't have time to talk about our days and catch up. I don't have time to rest in my Bridegroom's loving, strong arms.

     Is my loyalty divided?

     As I lay, I felt hopeless. I cannot find time to spend time with the centre of my life, Jesus; and the centre of my world, my fiancée, Emil. And yet with the 24 hours in each day, I spend less time with both than I should. Oftentimes I feel guilty because I neglect one for the other. Where is the balance? How do I wholeheartedly serve both and wholly integrate both into every corner of my being?

     And as I lay, I felt convicted beyond description, because I realised that while I neglect both, I neglect one far more than the other. I find myself each night, exhausted, emptily promising to make time for Him tomorrow - to make time for my Saviour and Redeemer.

     Psalm 1 says the following: "Happy are those...[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper." (NRSV)

     Lying in my bed I could almost feel my figurative leaves wither. I didn't have an excuse, though I tried to look for one. I tried to justify my negligence. I reasoned that Jesus is always there, and Emil is not. I can always spend time with Jesus, but I have limited time with Emil. Therefore, logically, my time with Emil should take precedence?

     Not so.

     I firmly rebuked myself as I lay in my bed.
     How dare I place any man above the God of the Universe?
     How dare I honour the man I will spend the rest of my life with above the One who knew me before time and will hold me for all eternity?

     How easy is it for this generation to use the excuse that time is precious? It shouldn't be an excuse! Time is precious - this is a fact. Therefore, how much more important is it to place one's precious treasure "in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes..." (Matthew 6:21)

     So I prayed and asked God for a solution to my dilemma. I know time rarely stops for anyone - the only case I am personally aware of where time has stopped is when "the sun stood still, and the moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on their enemies" as recorded in the tenth chapter of the book  of Joshua in the setting of a battle where the Lord fought for Israel. (An incredible record of God's power - I highly recommend reading it.)

     So I know God hasn't stopped time for me, but He is working in my heart to not see my two Bridegrooms as different loyalties, as different worlds, and that I need to divide my time between them. Rather, I now see that Jesus should be so integrated in my life that He is the centre of my relationship with Emil. And also, He is showing me that my personal time with Him is not taking my time away from Emil. My personal time with Jesus allows Him to strengthen me and refine me so that I can better use my time with Emil and better serve him as his future wife. In doing this, when Emil and I talk about Jesus and involve Him more and more in every aspect of our life, I will not feel as if my loyalty is divided. I am loyal to both in one loyalty, because without Jesus as our centre, Emil and I will lead a life that does not resemble a tree planted by streams of water.

     So Honouring two Bridegrooms is possible. It's an adjustment at first, but it becomes more natural as perspective shifts, as understanding grows, and as time and effort is devoted to Jesus Christ first, and relationships with anything and anyone else is founded around Him. 

"Strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
Matthew 6:33 (NRSV)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

And He Carried Me...

     The week has been long.
     I am tired.
     Energy is a word that has become foreign to me.

     Things have been hectic. I cannot remember the last time I was so busy, consistently busy. The truth is, it seriously affected me. I crashed. I broke down. I lost all self-confidence. I even built up an imaginary wall to separate me from those who are closest to me. I was too scared of hurting them, of becoming the girl I used to be, rather than continuing to grow as the woman I now know I am.

     I like to refer to my past as my "widowhood." It is a time where I was without God, without a protector, and I lived a life of selfish independence, hurting those who loved me, and embracing those who despised me. I abandoned God. And He patiently waited. It was a time of deep depression and loneliness, a time of isolation and discouragement. After the last three weeks I feared that I would fall into that again, that I would once again abandon my loved ones and live in separated widowhood. 

     But I didn't.

     I didn't go back to my old ways, because my past is truly behind me. I didn't do this though. I didn't have the strength to fight against the principalities and powers working to cause me to stumble. I didn't win the battle.

     God did...for me.

     In the past I ignored the gentle nature of God. I didn't see Him as kind. I didn't see Him as love. I chose to see Him as a ruling king and an executer of justice. Today He reminded me of His mercy, which has washed me clean of my past. Today, He became not just my king, but my shepherd.

     My favourite chapter in the Bible is Isaiah 55. My first point of call was to go read it again. It always brings me a degree of comfort. Today, however, I felt a little nudge pushing me back one chapter - Isaiah 54. What God had to say through these words brought healing I forgot existed.

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name. The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called." - Isaiah 54:4-5 (NRSV)

     God is my Redeemer. I do not have to fear because He has promised to hold me for eternity, to guide me and teach me His ways. He provides for me, protects me, covers me. That doesn't mean I don't get tired because one thing I know for sure is what it is to be without energy to do anything. But it means that God carries me, and in these verses He reminds me that I am never, ever alone.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Purity Hurts

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:10-11

     Right now you will be seeing many "Happy New Year" blog entries with resolutions and encouragement and optimism for the year to come. I suppose in a way this is one of those. I recently heard a pastor say that we all begin a new year by looking backward for wisdom, and forward in hope for our future. There is something exciting about a fresh start with new goals and new aspirations. Many times, if you are a follower of Christ, we use this time to commit to a more diligent effort in reading the Word of God or spending time in prayer, or telling people about our faith. These are all good goals to have. Yet somehow, the vast majority of us reach the middle of the year and look back at the past six months, and then we feel shattered because we started strong, yet we are at that moment perhaps the furthest from God that we feel we have ever been. Can you relate to that hopeless feeling?
     I'm going to throw an idea out there. I believe the reason we end up at this hopeless point is because we started without taking care of our hearts first. It is so easy to make big plans to advance our Faith, yet we often forget to do the simplest thing - and that is to ask God to purify our hearts. 
     How many times have we quoted Psalm 51, and yet our words are empty? How often do we really ask God to cleanse our hearts? To truly make us pure and holy, blameless before Him? I think the big problem is that we know the consequence of asking such a thing. We know that when we ask God to create in us clean hearts, He is faithful to do just that, and that means knocking down our pride, refining us, melting us, shaping us, dredging up all the ugliness of our human disposition and cutting it away. Psalm 51 even addresses this: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice." The cleansing hurts. It crushes us, grinds us down, it lays our pride shamelessly on the ground and we are renewed, our spirits are made right before God. 
     Now I would propose a question. Are you willing to go through that cleansing, that painful but freeing process where God Himself purges our iniquities from within us?
     My prayer this year is that God would purify my heart, and that that would overflow into my daily interactions with people. Once again in Psalm 51 it says: "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You." This is not something I can do. It is only by God's grace and might that my heart will be cleansed, and even then He will continue to uphold me and speak through me to those who are unaware of His incredible mercy. Would you join with me, brothers and sisters, and ask our Heavenly Father to purify our hearts, to purge us of our transgressions so that we are not tempted to walk this walk in our own strength? It is only by God's unending power that we can make it through our earthly journey before we meet with Him in our true home.

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin."
Psalm 51:1-2

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

One Man

     Can you hear the sound of your people celebrating? They are dancing, laughing, toasting to victory. You have won! Jericho has fallen, and a huge obstacle is now obsolete. Your people can walk freely in the land promised to them.
     Can you feel your chest swell with joy? God has saved you.
     High on the sense of victory, you send some scouts to check out the next city, a small city called Ai. It is not long before they return. They tell you that the village is small, and you don't need to send too many men to conquer it. Only a few thousand. After all, God is on your side!
     Later, you stare, shocked. You are defeated. Ai remains, and some of your men have died. Men with families...wives, children. Men with futures, only just stepping foot into the Promised Land. 
     You beg God, Abba Father, "why?"

     When you begin to read the story of Ai in Joshua 7 you may be left bewildered, confused. Why would God allow you to be defeated by a small city? Why after He has just led you to conquer Jericho, a fortified city? When you carry on reading, the answer is revealed. 
     One man.
     One man disobeyed God, and plundered an "accursed item." 
     It only took one man to cause that destruction. One man's disobedience.

God says: "There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you." - Joshua 7:13

     Unfortunately this is all too common. We allow a little bit of leaven, a little bit of sin into our lives, our camp so to speak. We try to justify it or to cover it up. That one little thing hinders us. It separates us from God. We know about it, but we do not address it. And before we know it, our army is broken and defeated. Our camp divided. Our lives desolate. 
     My friends, I cannot urge you enough. If we do not repent, we endanger not only ourselves but the people we love, the people we share life with. Spiritually, emotionally, even physically they are in danger. What fruit will come from our work if we do not take on Jesus' yoke, abandoning our past? We must know that we are sinners, and that we are sanctified and justified by Jesus. But if we use His grace as a cheap cover up for our sins, an excuse to carry on sinning, we slap His beautiful face. We take what He freely gives without offering anything to Him.
     Take the battle at Ai. Think about it, and apply it in your own life. Are you hiding things, trying to justify your sins? Or are you truly free? 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

When Temptation Knocks

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." - James 1:12

That voice again. Can you hear it? Just behind you, in your right ear. You feel your stomach clench, and your heart begin to pound. Your fingers quiver.

You have a choice.

Turn the computer off, or keep looking.

Answer the question honestly, or make up a story.

Pull away from her, or deepen the embrace.

Walk away, or left hook him.

There are so many forms of temptation. Usually it starts quietly, a little knock on the door. A few days later, it becomes more insistent. A few weeks go by, and the pounding is so powerful, you cannot lock the door. It is the voice that gently drags us away, and then it intensifies until a day does not go by without the perilous screech of that enticement, drowning out all common sense and hope for freedom.

Temptation becomes addiction; addiction becomes enslavement, and you are impossibly bound to it. You become lost, apathetic, and you blindly cling to the thing that enslaves you. Finally Satan drives a wedge between you and the One who loves you more than anything - Jesus.

The year 2012 was one of the worst and best years of my life. I began the year hopeful for a future, excited about life, and full of wonder at the world around me.

Then temptation knocked.

It started quietly, and I became curious. The knocking became louder over the weeks until I finally gave in. At first it was all very thrilling, exciting. But then I began to descend, spiralling down faster and faster. It was a mere three months until I found myself in the depths of despair, wondering what had become of my life, what had become of me. I couldn't recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I was a enslaved, chained, and locked in a prison cell without any light or hope.

Broken I came to the foot of the Cross - the ultimate symbol of complete love and sacrifice.

Jesus began to transform me. He freed me from my chains, and brought me out of the darkness I had lived in. His love overwhelmed me, and I chose to follow Him no matter the cost.

That would be a nice way to end this 'blog post. I would love to tell you that I have been free of temptation since. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

For about a year I found myself bathed in God's peace, living released of my chains. I smiled, glowed and served Him with a passion I had never known before. The door to temptation was locked.

The thing about temptation is, even when the door is locked, it will come wandering by again and attempt a light knock, just testing the waters. It might not seem like much, but that light knock can capture one's attention in a heartbeat.

It captured mine.

And so the struggle against temptation began again.

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." - James 1:14-15

I was so close to reaching an emotional death. I felt alone, unworthy, lacking, broken. I thought I had beat my temptation, and then it reared its ugly head again.

But Jesus.

That is the beauty of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the darkest times, He does not abandon us.

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." - Deuteronomy 31:6

God is with us, even when we are tempted, and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity to resist.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

At this point it is important to note that when you are enslaved by your temptation, you are giving it power in your life and therefore it becomes an idol. It is so important to flee from idolatry ("Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry" - 1 Corinthians 10:14) because idolatry separates us from our heavenly Father. It becomes a wedge driven between us and our Creator.

Temptation comes directly from Satan, whose goal is to break the relationship that God has with us. One of his greatest tools of deception is temptation, and we know this because God does not tempt any man ("Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." - James 1:13)

But "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning." - James 1:17

This is exciting, because if all good things come from God, then freedom from our slavery comes from God. When we believe on Jesus and take hold of His promises; when we resist temptation and bury ourselves in God's word, we will be brought out of darkness. God cannot lie ("That by two immutable (unchanging) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us..." - Hebrews 6:18) and His word will never change ("So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." - Isaiah 55:11) so if He says he cannot lie and He will set us free, we will be freed ("Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever commiteth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son (Jesus) abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." - John 8:34-36).

You can give Jesus the key to the door which temptation knocks at. It isn't easy, you have to resist, you have to walk away from the door because you can take the key back from Jesus at any time. He does not control us, and He gives us free will. It is so easy to fall into temptation's trap, and it will not be overcome immediately. But we are more than overcomers when we rest in Jesus' love and give Him the key ("Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." - Romans 8:37).

That voice again. Can you hear it? Just behind you, in your right ear. You feel your stomach clench, and your heart begin to pound. Your fingers quiver.

You have a choice.

Will you allow Jesus to take over, to help you overcome your temptation, will you give Him the key?

Or will you unlock the door, just one more time?