Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011, "Forgiveness bringing forth Healing"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
Excerpt from post on May 10, 2010

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
~ Psalm 103:12 NKJV ~

For many who know me, please pray before reading this. I pray that you will not look at me differently, but see the transforming power of Almighty God over a woman's life who went against everything she knew and had been taught. The life I had lived was of great selfishness and vanity, a life with great void, not choosing to walk with God.

"I woke up late. I had RSVP'ed for the event that I was suppose to be attending at 10 am. It was now 9:45 am and I wasn't even close to ready. All the thoughts of, "How are you going to get there without being beyond late?" "The drive alone is 15 minutes." I thought,"Well, I'm not going then, I can't show up late." Yet, the pull on my heart to go was stronger than the arguing voice in my head. My daughter and I with great efficiency was able to get ready...of course it didn't change the fact that I would still be late. As we left the house, my mind was still warring with me, "You can't show up late...that is so rude." I physically shook my head as though it would cast the thought out and I turned on the radio to KLOVE and a song came on that I had never heard before. The chorus I heard was the following phrase: "This is where the healing begins, This is where the healing starts..." by Tenth Avenue North. I thought, "Lord! Okay, I know this is of You!"

I preface you with the above to confess that I am a woman scorned by her own choice to abort and murder more than one child from God. For many years I hid my choice with great shame. Because of the shame, I was never able to mourn over the sin I had committed and mourn over my children. My womb was to be a refuge for these lives, yet it became a place of horror and death. About two weeks ago, I confessed before some dear friends and women from my church as we were in an intimate setting, the horrific, shameful burden that I had carried. At that moment, God's healing allowed me to finally mourn over a regretful choice I made many years ago.

Before my confession to the women from my church, I had been invited to the first annual, "Born Into Heaven" Service held at Gateway Church. I was invited by my dear friend, Jennifer. I was beyond amazed to find out that the 'God Idea' had only been deposited into the hearts of the women two weeks before the event. God utilized these four women who all had experienced miscarriages and a still born birth. Again, their hearts were deposited with the healing of God to be made manifest on men and women who experienced miscarriages, still born births, a death of a child and women who had abortions. To hear the testimony of how everything fell into place for the event was beautifully amazing. All the centerpieces, refreshments, and gifts were all donated. It was a God Divine Service to comfort all who mourn!

I met a few women who experienced the pain in miscarriages, even some who carried their babies to full term, going through labor and finding out that their child had passed away. I was in absolute awe to see that their sadness was replaced with God's supernatural, overflowing grace and strength. At that moment, I remember how shame tried to come upon me again, knowing that many of these women desired to have a child and to receive their children as beautiful gifts, yet were unable to. The beautiful gift that they so desired, I treated as it was nothing.

That Saturday, I mourned what I chose to lose. I wept even more so to witness the women who revealed the grace of Almighty God on their lives. Each table had small stones laid out along with markers. We were told if we wanted, we could place the names of the children that had passed away, upon the stones. After writing the names down, we were instructed to place the stones into a beautiful glass vase. At that moment, I wept with remorse as I never knew the names of my children or who they were suppose to be. I asked with tears streaming down my face, "Lord, what do I write?" The only thing that came to me was to write down the number of children along with the sin of murder by abortion. After writing it on the stone, I wept even more. I rose up from my chair and placed the stone into the beautiful glass vase.

As I sat back down, I noticed the others who approached the glass vase. I was left in awe. I was amazed to see the husbands who wept and embraced their wives as they approached the glass vase together with one or more stones in hand. It was a beautiful picture of God's embrace especially through the sadness that they could never imagine going through, especially on their own.

Going back to my late arrival, a woman was speaking. One of the things that she had spoken that morning, resignated so deep within my heart. The analogy she spoke of was from a devotional written by Oswald Chambers. This is what she said, "Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith..."

To hear this statement, was definitely a defining moment of the stretching process which represents growth. I realized that even in my sin, God wanted me to rise up out of the ashes of my shame. I realized that He truly desired that each of us must be stretched so that we can go further than we could ever dream of doing on our own.

Today, as I reflect on what I have been so lovingly forgiven of, I am greatly comforted by my God knowing that my children were born into heaven. I am so sorry to my children for allowing my womb to be a place of darkness and rejection.

I ask You Lord God, will you please tell my children how sorry I am? I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I robbed myself of getting to embrace such beautiful gifts. Thank you Lord for allowing me the gift in my daughter. Thank you for our Tristin. She is our inspiration from You. She is my inspiration to go on and lift my head, knowing that I don't deserve her...but You still allowed me to raise her, embrace her and celebrate her. Thank You Lord. Thank You! Thank You for your healing Lord that You have placed so lavishly upon my life!

To watch and listen to the music video, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and 'pause' the playlist...

"Healing Begins"
So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

So let it fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now
We're here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reminded by a dog named "Hachi"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
~ Isaiah 40:31 ~

Have you ever seen the movie, Hachi A Dog's Tale? Richard Gere, Joan Allen and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa are the principal actors in this amazing movie.

I saw this extraordinary movie for the first time today and I admit, I wept uncontrollably. To see the loyalty of a dog who was incredibly grateful to his master, portrayed by Richard Gere. The matchless gratitude of this beautiful animal towards his rescuing master was undoubtedly humbling. I was sadly reminded the lack of gratitude towards my God in comparison to this loyal creature whom God created.

This is an actual photo of the real life dog, 'Hachiko' who lived from November 1923 to March 1935 in Japan. You see, this movie is based on the true story of a college professor's bond with the abandoned dog he took into his home.

Pondering what I had just seen as the credits rolled before my eyes on the television screen, reminded me of a small glimpse of our powerful, rescuing, redeeming adoption story by God through Jesus Christ's beloved action of love poured out upon us, revealing the Love of God over our lives.

Truly think about this...I mean really think about it...Wow! We get to call our God, Abba Father. Incredible! Yet, even in this triumphant, glorious reminder of my redemption, I still do not wait upon the Lord as I desperately need to. What if I have to wait for days, weeks, months or even years? Am I willing to be obedient and wait? I cannot muster within my mind such a feat...a feat to wait!

O, to watch this movie as this dog waited for his master every day for the rest of his life was so heart wrenching. No matter the awestruck observer's who would watch Hachi wait daily for his master, they attempted to talk to this beautiful dog. They would say, "Hachi, he's not coming back". Yet, as though this dog could understand them, he wasn't moved by their gentle facts, he was ONLY moved by the true love of his master.

Are we more moved by the True Love of our Master? Or are we moved by the circumstances that seem to grow more dim, especially when we can't 'feel' His presence at different times in our lives?

A lesson learned today by all things, a loyal animal, a dog. O how amazing to see that God can utilize anything in creation that He wants to. His creation reminds us of His glorious love that craves to be desired by each of us so that we can live a super, overflowing, abundant life in Him, not missing out on the blessings that He so craves to pour out upon each of us.

Be reminded today that God truly desires His glorious presence to be revealed in and upon our lives in the midst of abandonment, hurt, betrayal, disappointment, and offense. Wait on Him...and watch His strength be revealed in the midst of the waiting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011, "Overwhelming humbleness"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

Psalm 8

I am reminded with great joy the God we get to worship.
Our Awesome God of His covenant over the many human beings throughout our concept of time and history. It's quite overwhelming, isn't it?

I love it, The Most Famous One allows us to pray to Him without ceasing as He desires to commune with us without ceasing.

The amazing, awesome God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, the moon and the stars that are strategically placed with overwhelming creativity and order, desires our spirits to commune with His Holy Spirit.

As recorded in First Kings 8, King Solomon asks with rhetorical awe, "But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built (I Kings 8:27)!" The Wisdom upon King Solomon as He completed the building of the Temple, led him to this wisdom that humbly overwhelmed him as he was constantly aware of his own great nothingness in the midst of God's eternal 'everythingness'.

Let us be overwhelmed today by His glorious awe.
We must let this realization overtake our minds.
When we are finally caught aware of our Glorious God and King, by default, we are unable to walk in pride, as we are humbled by His majesty.

Watching and observing the many people driving, walking, sitting and standing, may we be in awe of the spirit that each person 'houses'. Let us become aware moment by moment of our Awesome God, Who knew their spirit intimately before they were formed in their mother's womb. Let us help them find the Creator of their spirit, no matter if they smile, are kind, if they frown or are just plain mean, we must display with great love that comes from Who He is as their spirit overwhelms their mind and says, "This is what I have been searching for all of my life...YOU, GOD, YOU!"

Today, I am reminded to be a vessel of honor, set apart and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. I must be a rescuing reminder to those I meet to reveal The One Who saved us with extravagant humility...Jesus Christ!

Go in His wisdom and understanding as we do what the Lord requires of us.
When we become overwhelmed by the busyness of what we think our purpose is, let us truly get back to the fundamental reminder as recorded in Micah 6:8...our true purpose is to do what God requires of us:
* To do what is right
* To love mercy and
* To walk humbly before our God.

Scripture References:
I Thessalonians 5:17
Psalm 8:3
Jeremiah 1:5
II Timothy 2:21
Micah 6:8

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011, "Decluttered to Restored"

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written by: Teresa Criswell

"Restore to me the joy of your Salvation and uphold me by your generous Spirit."
Psalm 51:12, NKJV

A few nights ago I had the opportunity to meet some lovely women as I was invited as a guest speaker to share some creative ideas on how to stage their homes. It was so amazing what the Holy Spirit brought forth as I prepared and spoke that evening representing my staging service, "Decluttered to Restored".

There seems to be a significant awareness that empty rooms don't remain empty. A few of the reality cleaning shows on television have manifested this truth. These homes become filled with 'stuff', as that stuff seems to fill up not only the room but also the boxes, bins of all shapes and sizes storing the owner's once upon a time, 'must' haves.

Upon preparation of what I was going to speak about in regards to staging, I envisioned an analogy of our rooms within our homes being likened to our lives. Keeping this principle in mind that an empty room does not remain empty allowed me to ask myself the question, "Will my life be filled with the clutter of destruction and sin? Or will I allow my life to be filled up with the beauty of our God, revealed by Jesus Christ manifested through the Holy Spirit?

When thinking upon this principle, I asked the ladies, including myself to carry this mindset into our home. Our home can become a reflection of what we have allowed the Lord to set us free from in our lives. The peace that suprasses all understanding revealed in the midst of our own created chaos can be manifested in our humble abode.

This realization led me to even the clutter we collect on the counter tops, our desks, or wherever else clutter seems to multiply. We take a day to straighten, a few days fly by and the once cleaned spaces suddenly collect more clutter. In this reality, it is a humble reminder that our lives are filled with moment by moment decisions to maintain our communion with God as we allow Him to restore our once cluttered hearts and minds.

I am reminded daily that He is ALWAYS present just as His provision in decluttering is present. So in this reminder, are we joyfully coming into His presence at every moment, committing our behavior, habits and decisions to Him? For me, I don't, like I would like to, yet what a beautiful reminder of how simple we can live a life of freedom by the unfailing recognition of our nothingness in His EVERYTHING'NESS'.

Have you ever hired someone to clean your home or organize your home?
What was one of the first things you did before they came over?
Did you stress yourself by cleaning your house?
I liken that to what we seem to do when we feel as though we must clean our lives up first before we can ever go to God. We will never get it perfect, however, we can know the PERFECT ONE!

Moment by moment let us exercise our decisions by going to Him. He is the God of rest and peace. When we allow Him to declutter, confidently know that He restores!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011, "Depressed? Offended? Discouraged?"

Depressed? Offended? Discouraged? O, let me tell you...I sure have been. I must be real with you. My obedience to submit to God has been absent, leading to the 'praises' of what I am depressed about, of who has offended me and why I am so 'freakin' discouraged. I have tried to invite others to my self-pitied, depressing rants, but no one will join me. What the heck?

Well, praise God that no one has joined me, because I am incredibly wow'ed by Almighty God, The Most Famous One. I am wow'ed in great belief that God in all His glorious fame longs for me to long for Him.

Words cannot explain the incredible, indescribable, mind twisting awe that I have towards Him. I woke up this morning with a text from my friend Julie, who after a series of text messages of encouragement reminded me of what must be continually in my mouth as she pointed me to the Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As my mind for the past few days have overflowed with rehearsed hurts that I received, which I should not have, I was so beautifully and lovingly reminded by our God of this beautiful Psalm that David poured forth. This principle of praise is an eternal principle that applied over 4,000 years ago, and still does at this very moment. I was reminded so gently, yet powerfully of what must be continually in my mouth...the praises of God.

When the praises of God are continually in my mouth, then that is what is in the forefront of my mind and heart. The praises to God gives me the ability to cast down thoughts that need NOT be entertained for one moment.

Father God in the Name of Jesus thank You for Your Comforter and Strengthener of Your Holy Spirit. Father, I thank You for the tools that are readily available to each of us...the power of praise is essential as it allows our eyes to be fixed where they must be...on YOU! Thank You Lord for strengthening my brothers and sisters who are in need of this reminder. For some of us it is a moment by moment walk of praise, allowing us with Your grace to rise above the circumstances, proclaiming and declaring the power of Your God! I love You Lord, you are greatly to be praised!