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SewGenTogetherCluster_by_LynettesPhotoArt.  

Today I'm going to share something I've just sent in answer to an e-mail. I think there are a lot of people in this situation. So many of us are hurt and overwhelmed. I hope this blesses someone.

My dear sister-in-Christ,

I am honored that you have shared so deeply with me and my heart aches reading your letter. I pray you can hear what I am going to say. Firstly, there is hope. This is not forever. Take courage.

Next, I want to remind you that as those who wear the name of Christ, we have an enemy. The more we love God and want to serve Him, the more of a threat we are to the enemy and the harder he works to discourage us and get us believing his lies so that we become no threat to him at all, just another victim. Your letter shows that you are believing several of his lies and have become paralyzed by that belief to the point that you no longer gather with the brethren for worship or even feel you can come to a church activity that you are “excited” about.

He has told you that the "church" is a place only for those who are "perfect", have lots of money to support the work, are prospering spiritually right now, etc. That's a lie. Jesus gave us the church to be His body on earth. The church is to be a place where we are healed and loved, nestled in a fellowship of like believers on the same journey, so we understand. Everyone is either in the storm now, is just coming out of one or is on their way into one. If you could see the lives of others in church, you’d see the “Sunday faces” are not the full truth. Church is a place where our faith grows from receiving teaching, knowing other Christians and seeing His hand at work in their lives. A place to receive encouragement and help when things are bad. The church is the family of God - YOUR family. Family sticks together. It's the place we run to when life gets hard, not the place we withdraw from. It’s the place we are loved, warts and all. It is through being part of a fellowship of Christian believers that we build relationships with others who will lift us before the throne of God in prayer tirelessly in our time of need.

He has told you that you can't "help the church" in any way but financially. Just your being there helps! You are unique as is every member of the family He has blessed you with. Just being present encourages others. Just your commitment to faithfully gather with the brethren and worship God in this corporate setting encourages others. What if only those who "didn't need God" showed up for church? What when the lost person who is down and out visited? They would see only people with “everything together” and they would feel out of place, unwelcome and as if they had nothing in common with these people. Sadly they wouldn’t know we have ALL been where they are now and what they are seeing is the work of God in our lives. The message would be that same lie of the devil that church is for those who are “perfect”, not for the lost sinner and he’d leave unsaved, maybe never to be saved.

As Christians we gave our lives to Christ. Our lives are His now, not ours. We need to cleave ever more closely to Him during times of hardship, weakness and trial. We will surely be overwhelmed on our own, but in Him we are more than conquers. The very fact that we keep pressing on even during these dark times, is witness to the fact that we truly gave Him our lives that day when we were saved. When a lost visitor comes in and sees genuine people seeking God unashamedly with all their hearts to meet the dire need in their lives, they are encouraged that the Gospel of Salvation is alive and effective. A genuine Christian can weep unashamedly at the altar seeking their God and pouring their heart out to Him. (That’s why there are Kleenex there!) We are at worship for the Almighty God, not to please those who are standing around us. Our faith means little until it’s tested. It’s during these times of darkness that it’s the most important that we hold fast to Him who is our only hope and help. When we withdraw on our own, it is much easier for the enemy to pick us off – one lone sheep away from the flock and the shepherds (leadership watching over our souls).

You mentioned not being able to “muster the strength to be a light for someone to find their way”. This is another lie of the enemy you have believed. It’s not up to us to “muster” this. Light in our lives is the byproduct of our walk with God, through the good times and especially the bad. Any light we ourselves “muster” is counterfeit and worthless. The lost will see right through it as does our dear Savior. It is often during the dark times in life when we are overwhelmed that our light shines the brightest, whether we know it or not. It all depends on the choice you make – to draw ever nearer to God and cleave to Him or to withdraw. Possibly the brightest light I have been privileged to witness was in a dying 21 year old friend of my daughter and her mother. Indeed they had every right to be overwhelmed those long horrible months. But they both chose to cleave to our Lord and they glorified Him by this choice. Everyone who was in contact with this situation still today talks of how astoundingly they glorified Him in how they walked this dark path. Their terrible situation touched countless lives for Christ and it was their very darkest hour, nor were they aware that their lights were so brilliant.

His lies told you that church is all about what you can do for the church. This lie you have believed has successfully taken your eyes off God and put them on yourself. Being part of a fellowship is not only about what you can do for the church. It is to your great credit that you do have this concern, but our reason for being part of the church is HIM. We come to worship Him in a corporate setting because He is worthy. He is no less worthy when we are in the storm. We need bring nothing but ourselves, stripped of all pretension. We need bring nothing but our hearts to Him fully in worship, pouring out everything, hurt and joy alike. When the enemy can get us to take our eyes off Him and put them on ourselves, we loose our way.

He has told you that because so many others are praying to God, your prayers are unheard. What He’s really saying is that God is not big enough, not powerful enough to meet your needs. He’s saying that God is a liar when He promised that He would hear and answer your prayers. You know enough scripture to know that is a lie! Were there fewer people praying to Him the hour you first gave Him your life and were saved? Of course not! He heard you then, He hears you now, but believing the lies of satan are getting in the way. This is not said to condemn you. We have all been there. I’m just trying to shed some light on the lies you are believing that are making everything so much harder on you. The answer lies in choosing to believe God’s truth on each one of these topics.

“How can I be a positive influence for someone when I am so beaten down?” Dear sister, this is not your time to be the one doing that, but rather to allow others to do it for you. As Christians we know we are to serve others. It can be oh so hard to let others serve us! But this too is part of the journey. When we serve others, we receive a blessing. Would we deny our brethren the blessing from serving us? It is a test of humility cloaked in Christianity. See it for what it is – another step on the journey which can reap beautiful Fruit of the Spirit if we walk through it with our hands tightly in Jesus’, choosing consciously to believe only His Word and not the lies of the devil we hear in our own voice. We cannot bear one another’s burdens if you aren’t there.

You said of this fellowship, “If you only get through to one person’s heart then you have done a great service for the One we serve.” You are right! We read that we are the Body of Christ which is made of different parts and though different, all are equally valuable and indispensable. The eye can’t hold food nor the ear walk. There are people that only YOU can reach just now! One who cannot be reached by someone who’s life is being good and easy right now would find your situation one they could identify with. As they see you openly and honestly walking through your dark time cleaving ever more to your beloved Savior, attending worship, going to the altar, they will see true Christianity in practice, not lofty words they can’t identify with coming from people with their fake Sunday Christian faces on. This is what being a Christian is all about – what we do in the storm.

Now is the time to make the conscious choice to truly believe what He says in the Holy Scriptures and rebuke the lies of the enemy. Cry out to the One who loves you and died to save you and pour your heart out to Him. Nothing you say can surprise Him as He already sees your heart. Consider fasting and praying for Him to help you move into truly believing His Word in these areas. It will make an unbelievable difference in how you experience what you are having to walk through. He’s waiting for you, calling to you, drawing your heart to Himself to love and comfort you and assure you that He knows what’s happening. He hears your prayers and wants you to trust Him as He’s promised that ultimately, He will cause ALL things to work together for your good, as you love Him and are called according to His purpose. He does not lie. He is waiting to hold you. He loves you truly and will not stop.

I’ve been where you are, often! Sometimes talking about things with another in Christ who has been there can help. That’s one reason NOT to withdraw during dark times – because we can each encourage the other. Just as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, He prayed that we also be one as they are. That can’t be when we withdraw. Forget putting on “Sunday best”, whether faces or clothes, and bring Christ your life! He will not disappoint you!

I’m here if you want to talk. lynette@lynettesphotoart.com
Your Sister-In-Christ,
Lynette Keith

Now for your gift! Given the topic I shared today, my Sewing Generations Together seemed the natural gift. My daughters gave me this Willow Tree for Christmas saying it reminded them of my quilting as they grew up, so the natural LO was some of my quilts. This has both of their very first quilts - their baby quilts and yes, we thought Melissa was "Matthew" LOL!

One of my dearest memories of childhood is a crazy quilt my father's mother had made. We only got to use it when we were sick. I absolutely loved the random shapes of rich colored velvet and her fancy stitching around them. It was truly comforting to stroke the soft patches when I was ill.

Obviously my most elaborate king sized quilts have been crazy quilts. I made them very 3D including all kinds of things from my daughter's lives, mementos, and things from both grandmother's. I even added coins from the years of their births under netting and they jingle. Both of their crazy quilts include a portion of their favorite jeans, including a pocket with their favorite tiny pound puppies stuffed into them, a baby dress they wore, a Barbie outfit we made together, their old Bible covers and even a patch of the only sofa (much loved) we owned while they grew up.

When I was making my youngest's crazy quilt, she wanted a secret compartment so I sewed a patch with a zipper down the middle and a surprise inside. There are awards from school, pets they had, activities they loved, places they had visited and their father's employment. They each chose one of my Father's ties and I embroidered his birth and death dates on them along with a red rose as he gave my mother a rose from the yard every day in their latter years. Every seam on my youngest's is embellished with beading, lace, fancy ribbon work, ribbon embroidery or countless embroidery stitches, but I simply couldn't do the hand sewing any more when I made the last one for my oldest. I made a ShoFly quilt with every stitch by hand when they were growing up. It made me feel connected with women of yesteryear. It was the only quilt I've made using a pattern. Boy did that take a long time! But the winner was the youngest's crazy quilt. It took over 5 years! All my quilts, except the farm and the last two crazy quilts, where made entirely of old clothes and fabric that was given to me.

The spools in this freebie are my grandmother's and I still use them. I have already given you the Frayed Fabric (you can still get it in the archives in the left column) and I'll be giving you the Willow Tree and spools also.

Credits for my example, but only ScrappinCop's is in the freebie: Frames by Kim Higueria at BlueFairyDesigns@gmail.com; Overcast stitch by Jasmin-Olya http://jasminolya.blogspot.com;
Running stitch brush by ScrappinCop at http://thescrappincop.blogspot.com. Thanks ladies!
If you download, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this post as I have disabled 4shared comments. This helps me to know what you like for the future. God bless you!
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