Feb 18, 2014

Do you want to be Pursued?

Hey, SHINE girls! I have two AWESOME things to share with you today...are you ready?

I want to invite you local girls {or even if you aren't so local} to a women's event at my church this Saturday! We will have fun fellowship, sweet treats, and you will be sure to leave feeling PURSUED by your Lord and Savior!

This incredible night will begin at 6:00 pm, this Saturday, February 22nd. Our church is Eastridge Community Church in Covington, Ga. You do NOT have to attend our church to come to this FUN girls night! Grab a friend, or two or three...and come!

I will be looking for your cute little faces....so, go ahead and put it on your calendar. :)

The second AWESOME thing I want to share is a post from my friend, Kelli Brooks. Kelli will be sharing about God's Pursuit of YOU at our girls night. So, I wanted her to give you a sneak peak of what she will be sharing.

Are you ready to be blown away by how much God loves you and desires you?

Be blessed by Kelli's story, sweet girls.

by: Kelli Brooks

Kelli and her precious family

So here we are in the second half of February. Time flies! Another Valentine's Day has passed us by. A day that makes us think of a cute little cherub shooting love darts. A day showered with all things red and pink. A day that is undoubtedly the busiest day of the year for florists around the country. A day to celebrate love! Sure, these are the generic things we think of when we hear Valentine's Day, but this day means something different for every woman. For some, this is a day to be romanced. A day full of flowers and candy, a special dinner, or whatever your loved one plans to make you feel like the most important woman in the world. For some, it is a day of loneliness, pain and sadness. Whether you wait all year for V-day, you avoid it like the plague, or you're somewhere in between, I hope the Lord speaks fresh truth into your heart today about HIS passionate, unmatchable love for you! My prayer is that you will be filled with hope and excitement, and-more than anything-that you will be challenged to take his hand and allow him to make you the radiant woman you were created to be.

Can we be honest with ourselves for a moment?

As women, we all want to be seen, noticed, desired, listened to, protected, rescued, known, held, pursued, celebrated, fought for, called beautiful. Just reading those words stirs up my soul. We were created to want these things! We were created as delicate, feminine, beautiful women who long to be swept up in the arms of strength and protection.
First, I'd like to share a few scriptures with you that describe how crazy-in-love with you the Lord is! Breathe them in:

Psalm 23:6-Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life(you are pursued & desired)

Zephaniah 3:17-...He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (you are celebrated)

Psalm 45:11-Let the King be enthralled by your beauty...(you are called beautiful)

Psalm 91-He will rescue you...protect you...cover you...shelter you(need I say more?!)

Psalm 139:1-6-O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down and stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I'm going to say before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! (you are seen, you are listened to)

Psalm 139:13-18-You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They cannot be numbered! 
(you are INTIMATELY known, precious sister!)

How do you feel after reading those treasures from His word? I hope they make your heart skip a beat. I hope they're a beautiful reminder of how God feels about you! Do they make you want to take the outstretched hand of God and delight in life spent with Him? Do you hear in your heart the whispers of love and acceptance flowing from Him? Do you hear Him asking you to dance so he can sweep you off your feet? Inviting you into the intimate, passionate relationship of your dreams? My prayer is that this is where you are! And if not, that you will be.

Well friends, there are a couple of things I can tell you here. First, the truths in these scriptures are how he feels about YOU. Not just that good girl from church on Sunday, not just the woman who leads your bible study...YOU. And second, there are very few of us who truly believe that God could possibly love us this way. Why is this so hard for us? There are two significant obstacles that prevent us from fully accepting God's love:

We go to others for the perfect, fulfilling love that can only come from God.

We look to a man for perfect love. We set unrealistic expectations for our husbands. We become resentful and bitter when they cannot live up to those expectations-and if we're not careful, we push them away and create distance. Ladies, our husbands are not capable of perfect love. They were never supposed to be. Our husbands are intended to be VESSELS, and through them we get a taste of God's love.

We look to our children for perfect love. We get hyper-involved with their activities, achievements, and every tiny aspect of their lives. We wipe their bottoms, kiss their boo-boos, teach them life lessons, and the list keeps going. Before we know it, our children are what we live for, and in turn we subconsciously expect them to fill our souls. Then the day comes when they move away to college and the house is empty...and so are our hearts. Our children are only intended to be VESSELS, and through them we get a taste of God's love.

We look to STUFF for perfect love. That sounds foolish, doesn't it? But let's think about it: you feel empty, depressed, angry, disappointed, discontent, or bored and you head to your pantry to numb your feelings with some chips. Or maybe you head to the mall and buy a new top...or three. That new car sitting at the dealership would make everything better, right? These things will never be enough. And take note: STUFF WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A VESSEL TO TASTE GOD'S LOVE. STUFF IS JUST STUFF. Material things aren't necessarily bad, but they'll never fill the void that God alone can fill.

We feel that past sin disqualifies us from God's perfect love.
Oh boy. We could park here for days. Maybe you deeply hurt a loved one, and you live with the regrets and pain of a severed relationship. Now you don't feel you're worthy to receive this amazing love that the Lord speaks of. Maybe its sexual sin, and it has distorted how you view passion and intimacy, therefore making it hard for you to believe or understand the holy passion and intimacy that comes from the Lord. No matter what sin comes to mind for you, we all end up with the same thought: "I am unworthy of this type of love. I don't deserve it. It's too good to be true, and it can't be for me."

I have some encouraging truth to bring your way! Romans 5:8 says "God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Did you catch that? He sent his precious Son to die for us while we were still sinners! His perfect love is not based on what we've done or what we will do!

How about a little more? Ezekiel 34:11-12 says "I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they are scattered..." Talk about being sought out and noticed! And while we are astray from the chosen path. Why is the Lord so awesome?

Ya'll, I have been blessed. I have two wonderful children, amazing God-centered friendships, the list goes on and on. I also have a terrific husband. I mean, he's great. Handsome, sensitive, loving, hard-working, honest. He tells me I'm attractive often (in his quirky, funny choice of words), he supports me...I could keep going. Which is why I've struggled with major guilt for years over why I'm not satisfied. Stay with me here. There has still been a need-a deeper need-to feel desired, pursued, noticed. A need that can't be met by a husband and a marriage. This guilt has been crippling at times because I didn't understand what I was feeling. Year after year, I pushed down and suppressed the way I felt. I honestly felt that something was wrong with me and hated myself over this at times. I begged God to take these needs away, and with each plea, the need would become stronger. I felt as if past sexual sin (before marriage) had somehow permanently damaged my ability to be secure and fulfilled in a healthy love relationship.

Finally, in my bedroom with journal in hand, there was a night of change and healing. This is what I wrote:

"Lord, you know these longings are there. I've begged you to take them away. But I think I'm starting to realize that the needs are supposed to be there. I know, as a believer, that you should be enough. I know through reading your word that you love me like no one else ever could. I believe it with my head, but Father, please help me to believe it with my heart. You made me. You wired me this way. And if you made me this aware of these longings so I would run to you, then show me the way. I am here. I want to be blown away by your passionate, intimate love for me. I want to be so swept off my feet by your pursuit of me that the longings in my heart finally make sense. I've always seen you as my Father, but help me to break free from the memories and self-inflicted shame of my past sin so I can truly know that you are the passionate lover of my soul. And not only know it, but be thrilled and completely fulfilled by it."

We were created with the need to be desired, sought out, pursued. Let's stop suppressing the longings of our soul and turn to the Lord to satisfy us in a way we never thought possible.

Praying that you accept when He asks you to dance,



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