But…the story doesn’t end there!

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A few days ago, when I was having playtime with my 5 years old son, he wanted to have a drawing & colouring activity as a part of playtime. I gave him a few sketch pens and chart papers to draw pictures on. As he got engaged in drawing, my mind unknowingly slipped into some thoughts.

I was thinking (maybe worrying) about the future life we are going to have as a family. I was wondering about the daily challenges I face, the family finances, my daughter’s health condition and the future ministry and plans God has for us. Within a second my mind was filled with uncertainties, fears and insecurities.

I felt so many more impossibilities than possibilities in my situation. Fear of the unknown troubled my heart. I found myself completely caught up by my worries and I didn’t even notice my son had finished drawing his pictures and he wanted to show them to me.

He first showed me a drawing of Jesus hanging on the cross.

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I was surprised because he usually likes to draw rainbows, house or shapes in his drawings. He tried telling me the story of Jesus- which he watched on YouTube I guess.

He began saying that Jesus died on the cross, he shed his blood for us….Jesus saves us.

But one thing brought a sparkle into my eyes and a great hope in my heart

When he said  “But wait…..

the story doesn’t end there

He rose again from the dead!”

And with a wide smile on his face he showed me his next drawing of Jesus risen from the dead.

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Even though I know the truth but that very moment when fear and uncertainty entangled my mind what I needed most was someone to remind me that Jesus is a risen God, He is alive, he has conquered the power of death and darkness and that’s the reason I have a future, a hope and His perfect plans for my life. His story didn’t end in defeat; neither will mine. Death couldn’t hold Him in the grave; neither will my adverse circumstances hold me to doubts, fears or uncertainties. The power which resurrected Jesus from death, the same power is imparted in me.

My son’s simple drawing spoke a great message of God’s hope, unconditional love and promises to my anxious heart. As I focus on the little sentence he told me “but wait! The story doesn’t end there” that itself is a great proof of God’s faithfulness in my life. Because two years ago my son couldn’t even speak a single word. His story didn’t end in dumbness but by God’s grace he is improving and amazing us by his words every day.

In the midst of life’s challenges, it’s easy to shift our thoughts into negativity.  It’s easy to get so carried away by our worries, anxieties, and frustrations and believe things will always be the same, I will not make any difference or I will always be going to drag through life.

There are seasons in our lives when the other half of the story is unknown. Fear of the future sometimes overpowers our faith and trusting an invisible God becomes illogical. But here’s the assurance…a firm assurance we have in Christ Jesus “THE STORY DOESN’T END THERE…HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD!” And when we focus on His Story which was unfolded for us, we can be sure of our story which will be unfolded in victory too for His glory.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:3 NIV

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Thy Kingdom come!

 I am so excited to welcome my friend Jill Cote to the Blog. I met her through her site http://www.letfaitharise.com three years ago. Since then we have cherished our friendship and it has been flourishing in the love of Christ. Her words have always inspired me in my walk with the Lord. I pray her words will bring an encouragement to you too.

Welcome Jill!


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Recently The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, had been on my heart. I had found myself reading it, and learning about it through different messages and talks with my husband.  Specifically the Lord was speaking to me about forgiveness.  In time I began reading a book called “A Layman looks at The Lord’s Prayer” by W. Phillip Keller.  Though I knew that the Lord wanted to go deeper with me in the area of forgiveness, it became clear that He first needed to reveal something else to me.  As I began reading chapter 4 of this book, the section of the Lord’s Prayer that says “Thy Kingdom Come”, I found myself unexpectedly blessed.  In one short paragraph the Lord made so much crystal clear.  It was as if I had been looking through a veil that distorted so much. The Lord spoke to me about a lie that I have believed, and the root behind it.

As I read, it became clear, there was an error in my basic assumptions that had framed my way of thinking my whole life. The following is the excerpt from the book that I read, which touched me so deeply… “When all is said and done, most of us from our earliest childhood believe we are the king of our own castle.  We determine our own destinies;  we arrange our own affairs; we govern our own lives.  We become supreme specialists in selfish, self-centered living where all of life revolves around the epicenter of me, I, mine.”

As the Lord spoke to me and touched me I picked up my pen, crying to the Lord, and wrote this short story that he gave me in a moment…

… Once upon a time there was a mighty castle, centered in a glorious kingdom. There was laughter, fun, love, warmth, but most importantly, there was security.  This castle was safe. The ruler of this kingdom knew all was well and had no thought or concern that it would ever be anything different.  But, one day, quite unexpectedly, the enemy charged.  He tore down the walls.  The fortress crumbled. Life would never be the same again.  Memories of happy times became distant and now tainted with pain.  Uncertainty settled in the hearts of those who remained.  Safety was stolen.  Fear blanketed their souls.  It was settled, the ruler understood, she had failed.  It was her fault.  She wasn’t enough.  She’ll never be enough…

I was the ruler of this kingdom. And with respect to my family whom I love dearly, the details of my family’s struggle don’t matter as much as the message the Lord was trying to teach me.  I had believed that if I had been enough, I could have prevented heartache.  I had believed that it was my fault.  I believed that I was the King of my castle and that I had fallen short.

This lie, this lense I looked at life through had established basic assumptions that affected my way of thinking for decades.  Many times the Lord had shown me this guilt I had operated in, I had felt it for years, however I didn’t understand the root…  the root being the belief that I was the king of my Kingdom. When we believe that… we surely are solely to blame when things crumble.

As the Lord spoke to me I pictured pots with seeds being planted. This experience as a child caused three seeds to be planted.

  1. Bitterness and resentment towards those who hurt me.
  2. Unforgiveness towards myself and those who hurt me.
  3. Lies that were perceived as truth creating a corrupt way of perceiving life.

Then the Lord showed me what grew out of each plant.

  1. A need to control and protect, always striving to meet outside expectations.
  2. A lack of trust which created untouchable parts of my heart.
  3. An inability to see rightly through this distorted lense.

As a young lady, 11 years old, this was now the foundation I stood on. Surely the enemy knew this, and he sought to use this cracked foundation to dig me deeper and further from God’s truth.  As I grew older, married, had children, I found these insecurities had crept into so many parts of my character and my life.

In this, the Lord didn’t want to leave me here. There was an ending to the story He gave me as I sat and wept that afternoon… This was the end to my story:

… Oh, this young ruler was confused. In her youth and immaturity she placed a robe of ruler ship on herself that she was not meant to wear…  you see… she was a princess! It was her father the King of Kings who ruled the land!  His ways were higher, his ways greater.  He had allowed this battle to rage.  He ordained the walls to come crashing down, so that He alone could be glorified as He built a new castle.  A castle with a foundation of truth, walls of trust, a moat of protection, boarders secured, so that this young princess was truly ready for battle… oh how the Father loved His precious daughter…

God’s Word is our foundation of truth. Psalm 145:9 says “The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”  Surely He is trustworthy!  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world says 1 John 4:4.  The borders of our castle are secure!  He is sovereign!  Col 1:16-17 says “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

He alone is the king… not us… He alone we trust in… not ourselves or others… He plants completely new seeds in our gardens. Bitterness and resentment are replaced with love.  Unforgiveness births forgiveness in our hearts.  And the lies we once believed are replaced by His Truth!  It was not my fault that the walls came crashing down that day… I hadn’t failed… and neither had God… He had a magnificent plan that He is still working in me. He is doing this same work in you, and you can trust Him!

In all of this… the Lord was seeking forgiveness in my heart for all. My time studying forgiveness was perfect preparation for this revelation the Lord gave me.  How can I hold onto unforgiveness, when all things are a part of His sovereign plan. Thy Kingdom Come! Phil 2:13 calls us to forget about those things behind us and to press on.

Certainly walking these truths is much easier in my head, than in my heart. It can be a daily surrender to continue to forgive and to not hold those we love in contempt.  My prayer for you…  Lord God, help us to see Your Sovereignty in all things.  Help us to remove this crown of control and place it on the rightful KING.  We place ourselves under Your Kingship Lord.  Rule and reign in us oh God!  We no longer want to live a life of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.  We want to see rightly Lord… no matter the cost!  Open our eyes to see Your loving hand at work in even the most difficult places.  Help us to forgive and be changed… In Jesus Name, Amen

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Jill lives in the United States with her husband and four children. The Lord has brought her and her family through many trials of health and home.  In this, He has proven Himself faithful and sovereign.  She is blessed to be able to share what the Lord is revealing in her heart in hopes of blessing others.

 

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There is Power in your Pain!

power in the pain

A few months ago, a parenting community named “mycity4kids” hosted a contest for bloggers – “Having A Baby Changes Everything”. This contest was all about sharing motherhood stories, joyful moments with the little ones and the excitement of their first milestones. Since I was one of the members and bloggers of this parenting community I received the notification for the contest too. The notifications kept coming into my inbox throughout the month. I was receiving the articles of other bloggers who wrote their motherhood journeys so beautifully.

I so wanted to be part of the contest but I was hesitant to share about my parenting journey, because my motherhood wasn’t filled with fun, laughter and exciting things like other mums. I was sure, even if I did write, it wouldn’t be good enough to fit into the contest or to bring any cheer to my readers.

There were a few days remaining till the contest closed. I was having continuous prompting in my heart to write about my motherhood experience and what it means for me to be a mother. I would begin to type the words and I would delete them. I didn’t want my story to look different than the other bloggers. I wanted to be part of the crowd. For most of them, their lives were changed by experiencing the joy of motherhood but for me, my life was changed by experiencing the heartaches of motherhood.

My motherhood story was full of pain, tears and fear of the unknown about my little ones. My 3 years old son was diagnosed with Autism and my 2 years old daughter had damage in her brain which later developed into rare epileptic disorder and severe developmental delays. There weren’t any milestones, first words, rolling, babbling, giggling but hospital stays, painful injections, MRIs, blood tests, tantrums, inconsolable crying and chaotic life.

In the midst of my dilemma to write or not to write for the contest, a thought stuck my mind. I decided to write believing that even if my motherhood story doesn’t bring any cheer to the readers or stand out for any prize in the contest, it might encourage a few troubled hearts of those mothers who are going through similar situations like mine.

So I began writing about my motherhood story and how it changed my life and perspective towards the definition of motherhood. And with much courage I posted it. I titled it “A Contrasting Tale of A Motherhood”.

To my surprise, within a couple of days, I had more than 84,000 people viewing my story, many Facebook comments & shares and hundreds of mom across the country writing to me that they are really encouraged by my words. Some of them wrote how it helped them to value their motherhood, some of them just thanked me for helping them see the positive side of their struggles as mothers, some of them wrote prayers for me and some of them found my story inspiring.

The head of the Blogger community personally thanked me saying

“Thank you so much for sharing your parenting story with us. I came across your post and thought to recognise your efforts for this publication. I think it’s great that you are able to put your life in words. There are many of us who would address the trifle issues and not recognise the roller coaster ride parenthood can be. So thank you, once again for this post. Our readers long to hear more about your life and your positive attitude towards life”.

I thought my “different” story wouldn’t fit into the theme of the contest but more than anything else God wanted to use it to bring healing, comfort and encouragement to many hearts.

I know He had given me those words to write to turn my miseries, struggles, and discouraging moments into a beautifully woven article of inspiration.

Have you ever felt God nudging your heart to share something but you felt it wasn’t worth sharing? It could be your abusive past, your failure, a story of your life which is filled with painful moments, or any of your life incidents or experiences that you wouldn’t want to bring into the light?

You probably think that it’s not going to help others, it’s not worth sharing, you are still waiting for a miracle or happy ending for that story, and you aren’t sure what people will think of your inadequacies, short comings and disappointments.

Dear friend! No matter which crisis you are going through, there is a purpose behind your pain; there is a testimony, an inspiring and influential message which people out there are waiting to hear. It may not encourage the multitudes but will surely reassure most of those who need to hear some words of comfort and assurance today.

God has a plan for your pain. Don’t stop yourself. Don’t undermine the power of your pain. Your story can bring encouragement and inspiration to many. Your life experiences can heal the broken-hearted, point them to the hope and love of Christ and help them to thrive amidst their problems.

When God nudges your heart, be ready, you are about to enlighten someone’s life with yours.

 

Here’s the link to my parenting story. If you want to read, please click the below link.

http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/words-from-heart/article/a-contrasting-tale-of-a-motherhood-having-baby-changes-everything

Attitude of Gratitude

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm107:150

In today’s world, not many of us are satisfied with life. We desire more and more from it and are disappointed with things we can’t receive. We are frustrated because of our unfulfilled dreams or failed plans. We often complain and get resentful about our circumstances and shortcomings. We focus more on things we don’t have. In the midst of all our discontentment, we often overlook things God has blessed us with and forget to count our blessings.

Today I am honored to share my Devotion ” Attitude of Gratitude” at BlOGS BY CHRISTIAN WOMEN https://blogsbychristianwomen.com/

Please read the entire Post here:https://blogsbychristianwomen.com/attitude-of-gratitude

In Christ alone my worth is found!

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During my childhood, I used to study hard to get good marks for my exams. I wanted my Dad to feel proud of me and love me more because of my achievements. Whenever I would score good marks, get prize in competitions, draw a picture, make a good craft piece, clean my house or help mom in cooking I would wait for my Dad to come home so I can show it to him. I desperately wanted him to appreciate me and feel good about everything I did. As a child, I always thought my good marks, good behavior, achievements will bring little happiness to my Dad who works hard to meet my needs.

My Dad did appreciate me but I always thought it wasn’t enough. I longed for a genuine appreciation for all my hard works. I really wanted him to be truly happy in all my success and to really feel proud of his daughter. Because all I wanted is, his words of appreciation to make me feel worthy of myself. The more he would appreciate the more I would feel self-worth and confidence. Whenever he didn’t appreciate the way I wanted, I felt the opposite.

When I was married, I took off the crown of appreciator from my Dad’s head and placed it on my husband’s head. I began to look to him for appreciation. Every single thing I did like cooking, cleaning, trying out a new dish, even folding his clothes I wanted him to appreciate me and love me for my hard work and sacrifices for family. Unfortunately my husband failed to live up to my expectations too. He did appreciate me but I always thought I deserved more of it for all I do for him. Because all I expected from him is his words of appreciation for me so I can feel worthy of myself.

I tried finding my worth in my achievements, my good deeds, my Dad’s appreciation, my husband’s pat on my shoulder and in earning ‘Good Job’ badges for everything I did. I thought my value comes from my performance and other’s opinion about it.

Once there was a time in my life, when I had no one to appreciate or encourage me on anything I did or achieve. That was the time God was teaching me to realize my worth in the most darkest and lonely moments of my life. He knew exactly what needed to be done in my case to make me depend on Him alone. In my solitude, I learned the incredible lessons of self worth which I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.

God teaches us to understand our value in the loneliest places.

When I had no other place to look for my worth accept His Word, I found the truths about myself and who I am in Him. He is the one who determines my value and I don’t even have to earn it. My value doesn’t come from my achievements, people’s opinion about me or anything I do but my value comes from God who says I am loved, accepted, celebrated and cherished by Him.

“You were bought at the price.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

I now know that my true worth is found in Christ alone who paid the price for me.

When I found my value in Him, my God-given potentials were unlocked. No longer I had the pressure of what people think about me, my performance or my failure. But I was free to be just me, believing everything He said about me and thriving in my new identity which was secured in Him.

Dear Father!

 Thank you so much for finding me worthy of your love. Thank you for choosing me to be your daughter. Help me to remain rooted in my identity in you. Help me not to look at others for defining my worth, not to depend on my achievements or good deeds but guide me to take each steps towards the treasure you have for me. Let my true worth be always founded on your unconditional love for me. Amen!

This post is part of the weekly (Five Minute Friday link-up)

You can join here and read what others are talking about Worth.

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Are you hearing all voices except His?

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A couple of weeks ago, one of our friends and his family visited our home first time. We know them from past 8 years as we were together on Ywam outreach in Sri Lanka in 2010. We met after a long time so all the memories of our outreach were evoked. We recalled the travels, the stay, food, fun, ministry and all the ups and downs we had. During our outreach ministry, we as a team of ten people shared Gospel through personal testimonies, messages, choreography and skits. We all had awesome time of ministry during our three months of internship which we all have always cherished to this time.

I remember, my favorite part of outreach ministry was to perform skits. It was exciting to act different characters. We had few skits to perform each time we visited the local community, churches and villages of Sri lanka. People always responded well to the skits.

One of the skits was about a person’s identity and worth. This person doesn’t know who he is. He is on a journey to search for his real identity and worth. Whomever he meets on his way, isn’t able to tell him who he really is. People say, “You aren’t of any worth, you aren’t loved, you aren’t good looking, you aren’t talented, you are rejected, you are a failure and there is no hope for you. All these voices begin to echo in his ears and he is totally confused about his real identity and worth. He starts to believe what people have said about him. Out of despair he cries out in a lonely place where he meets Jesus who tells him his real identity. Jesus says to him that he is a child of God, he is created in God’s image, he is worthy, he can do all things through Him, he is loved and accepted because Jesus himself has died on the cross for him to give him a life of worth and  true identity.

While recalling this skit today, I began to ponder deeply on the beautiful message it conveys. Once I had played the main character, not in the skit but in a my real life. And I know how it felt to wonder about my true identity.  All the voices were telling me that I am of no worth, I am unaccepted, cursed, unloved, unnoticed, forgotten, and left alone. I thought I can’t be a good mother, a wife or a daughter to my family. I allowed those voices to define my identity. I believed what they said to be true about me. In a culture where people think God’s blessings are all about prosperity, health and success, I couldn’t stand my faith with everything happening just opposite in my life year after year after year. Alone in my room with my sick child I ended my days with tears, bitterness and feelings of loneliness and rejection.

I doubted God’s love for me, I doubted His plans for my life, I denied the purpose of my life and I even wondered if He really had any plan for me when I was created.

All these lies crippled my confidence and self-esteem leaving me to wonder about my real identity and worth. And just like the skit, Jesus had to visit my lonely soul once again to remind me of my real identity and worth in Him.

I found these truth about myself after digging deep into His Word whenever I felt defeated by the negative voices.

When I thought I was of no value, He said, “I paid the price for you on the cross so I alone know the worth of you.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

When I thought I was unnoticed, He said, “I see you, I see every tears that fall from your eyes.” Genesis 16:13

When I thought I was left alone, He said, “ You aren’t alone. I am with you always.” Isaiah 41:10

When I thought the struggles of my life will always last, He said, “Your days of sorrows will end. “ Isaiah 60:20

When I thought there isn’t any hope for my life, He said, “I have plans for your life.” Jeremiah 29:11

When I thought I was forgotten by Him, He said, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16

When I thought I will never be able to do anything in my life, He said, “I will strengthen you to do all things.” Philippians 4:13

Instead of listening to the negative voices, I began to incline my ears to His Word. Instead of feeling defeated by them, I began to raise up knowing my true worth is found in Him alone. Whenever my strength failed, He embraced me with His outstretched arms, raised me out of the ashes, crowned my life with beauty, joy, peace, self-worth and reminded me of my true identity as the DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

Dear Friend, I don’t know if you too are struggling to find your true identity and worth in the world which is full of different voices. Let me encourage you to look to the one who paid the price for you. Seek Him for He alone knows how much it cost. Don’t ever let any negative voices define your identity and worth. You are the child of the most high God. You are forgiven, accepted, loved, chosen, and valued by your Heavenly Father. You are precious to Him because you were bought by His precious blood. Let your identity and worth be defined by His unconditional love for you.

 

 

 

 

Are you feeling left behind?

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Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He missed out last 38 chances to be healed. After waiting for so long and being disappointed each time, he probably gave up on himself. There was no one to help take him into the pool. He probably was tired of waiting for a miracle for himself. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition for a long time, Jesus asked him if he really wanted to get well.

In John chapter 5, we read a story of a man who was sick for 38 years. It’s a story we have been listening to since our Sunday school time. This man was laying at the pool of Bethesda for a very long time. He probably spent the best part of his life in despair and in a hopeless situation as he had been sick for 38 years. He was lying on a porch waiting for the moving of the water, but whenever the Angel came down into the pool and stirred up the water, somebody always stepped down before him.
There are seasons in our lives where we feel forgotten and left behind. Expecting a miracle can be so challenging when we have waited for a quite long time being in a same condition. It’s very easy to believe that nothing will ever change; we will remain the same. We kind of find a compromise with our crisis. We give up on our lives, our dreams, and probably even we give up on God. It looks like we are just fine with our crisis. It doesn’t seem like we ever want a change, a miracle, or a fulfillment of our dreams from God.
He says to Jesus that he has no one to help him into the pool when the water is stirred. While he is trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of him.

Many times its easy to blame others for our inability, our lack of progress and our problems when people goes ahead of us and we remain in the same situation. Someone else is promoted and we often miss out on opportunities.

We read in the scripture that Jesus commands him to pick up his mat and walk .(John 5:8)  Jesus heals him and he not only receives healing but also a Savior for Life.

Dear friend, I don’t know which crisis you are struggling with right now. You may feel like giving up, feel like compromising with it and feel like there is no hope, no one is there to help you out. You have missed out on many opportunities. Others have gone ahead of you and you are left behind. It may look like you are just fine with your adversity. You have stopped expecting any change for your situation.

Let me encourage you today. You will not be left behind. When there was a hope for a man who was as equal as dead near the pool of Bethesda, then there is sure hope for you in Christ Jesus. God is the one who defines your destiny. He has the answer for you. He holds the key to unlock your future.  In His time He will raise you up. You are probably still waiting for someone else to help you get into the pool, but the Lord himself will visit you. You were not created to drag through life constantly. Don’t settle down for mediocrity. His promises never fail. He will raise you out of lack into abundance, out of sickness into healing, out of failure into success, and out of despair into His joy and peace.