Thursday, May 30, 2013

Author Denise Hildreth Jones shares a guest post to encourage you: The Performing Heart

Please welcome Denise Hildreth Jones, with another guest post related to her new book, "Reclaiming Your Heart."

I slipped the dress on one item at a time. The group of women who had gathered for our annual VBS for Women event sat staring wide eyed. As I slipped on the skirt I described how the legalistic environment I had grown up in had been a piece in shutting down my heart.

As I slipped on the blouse, (all over the clothing I already had on), I shared how losing my dream of becoming a Christian singer shut down another piece of my heart. As I slipped on the matching hat, (Oh
yeah, sister had it going on) I shared how I had lost even more of my heart in my thirteen year marriage.

As I stood up there in an outfit ready for high-tea with the queen, I let them know that this was a picture of the performer I had become. With my shut-down heart I had created a persona that only let people see what I wanted them to see. The bad and grizzly and sad, well I kept all of that to myself.
The performing heart believes the lie that God hasn’t made us enough. Our story isn’t pretty enough. Our story isn’t fancy enough. Our story well…isn’t enough. And so we put on our shiny shoes and snazzy hat and write our own story. I didn’t want people to know my pain. I didn’t want people to see my tears. I just wanted them to think that I had it altogether. And oh the sadness in that lie.

 God has never needed us to have it altogether. But He requires us to accept the story He has written and continues to write for us. Why? Because He is the ultimate Author. He is even called “The Author and Finisher.”

The prophet Isaiah wrote “Does a book say to its author, ‘He didn’t write a word of me’? Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it, ‘She had nothing to do with this’”? And yet that is what the performing heart does every day. And it is a sin. Yes, sad to say but it is a sin.

And in order for our hearts to be reclaimed we have to own that sin. Repent of it. And then go on the quest to reclaim our heart. Reclaiming the performing heart starts by owning our story. So, I encourage you today to do two things in these next few weeks. Write down your story. All of it. Even the parts that you wish weren’t a part of it. And then tell your story to a person you trust with your heart. All of it.

There is such freedom when we own truth and bring those things in the dark into the light.

Remember, no one chapter is the whole of your story. It is and always will be simply a piece…there is much left to write.

And you can trust The Author…

Watch Denise's video here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Devotions from the Road of Life: I'm Dirt!

"In the parable of the sowers, Jesus talks about the different kinds of soil and how sown seed responds to it. I've come to realize that at one time or another, I've been all of the kinds of dirt Jesus describes.

Sometimes, I'm the rocky soil that doesn't provide a deep enough medium for the Word to thrive. I hear the lesson, I agree with the lesson but I don't do anything to nurture the Word in my life. It sprouts, then fails--a victim of my neglect."

Read more of this devotion and view the slideshow  here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest post from Denise Hildreth Jones: The Weary Heart

Please welcome my guest blogger Denise Hildreth Jones, author of "Reclaiming Your Heart."

Running beneath a rain of birdseed, my husband opened the passenger door for me to climb inside as we started our life together. I grabbed the hem of my hand crocheted wedding dress that was over twenty years old and nestled myself into the seat. Laughter bounced through the air and love was almost touchable. My new groom climbed in beside me and in a moment a question came from the back seat. I looked back into the faces of five kiddos, who in one moment had all landed me in the new role of bonus-mom.

At the age of forty, having never had children of my own, I’d quickly come to discover that I had just entered a world as breathtaking as trying to drink water from a fire-hydrant. I quickly delved into my new role of wife and bonus-mom. We didn’t have the kids all the time, so I still had time for ministry and writing responsibilities, but the new schedule of five kids all with activities, couponing (one trip to the
grocery store gave me that revelation!), car-pooling and top chef, and it wasn’t long before I was weary. Bone weary.

A few years before I had found myself on the other side of a heartbreaking divorce. My heart was painfully shut down. I had shut down my voice. I had shut down my desires. I had shut down my dreams. I had shut down in fear, in anger, in disappointment, in performance. I had handed my heart over to a lie. And in the process, that beautiful, God-designed heart that had been created inside of me was a shut-down shell of the “abundant life” God had offered.

After that divorce I went on a desperate search for my heart. I reclaimed it in its deepest places. And then came my new family. The stress of navigating five hurting hearts. The new schedule. The old pains being pricked with the new intimacy that marriage inevitably brings. And a year and a half into bonus-momdom I had realized that I was on the verge of shutting down again in weariness if I didn’t grab a hold and do something different.

I was believing the lie of the weary heart that says, “God needs me.” God needs me to car pool these children. God needs me to coupon to save money, because to do anything else would be irresponsible. God needs me…and the list goes on.

And in that lie, I realized I was about to shut down all over again. But I heard God remind me, “Take my yoke upon you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” It was His yoke. He didn’t need me. He desired to use me, but He did not need me. And in that revelation I began to let go of a few things in order to give my kids the best of me. Something that might seem selfish actually ended up being selfless.

We can all shut down our hearts. In fact, some of us haven’t seen our real hearts in so long we wouldn’t even know what they looked like. Remember, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.” But there is more to that Scripture, “But, I have come that you might have life and have it to the full!”

Friends, take heart. Yours. And do a heart check. Are you living life to the full? Or has living shut your heart down? Goddoesn’t need you. But oh how He desires to use you…