Keep Knocking

Hello All, I was going to post this a while back but have been wasting my time pushing against a wall that I know I can’t move on my own.  The holy spirit had prompted me several times to post this but I have been more worried about the technical issues of the site that I have been distracted from its purpose.  When I went back and reread this piece it was as if I was seeing it for the first time and it was the push start I needed to get past this wall I am facing.  I pray it encourages you as it has done for me, to write it and to read it! God bless, Tracy.

P.s. Updates to the about me page coming soon:)

Keep Knocking
Jan. 1 2018
Yesterday I prayed for the power (as Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:18) to understand the vastness of God’s love for me because I know that, that kind of understanding would change the way I live my life and relate to world. And like the loving God he is my prayers were answered. Matthew 7:7 has been showing up every where lately, in the book store, in my colouring book and online. The words that stick with me are “Continue to knock and the door will be opened”. Continue, meaning don’t stop, don’t give up. God knows the end of our stories, he knows the call he has put on our lives. In other words he knows my potential. My creation was not an accident, I have a purpose, the purpose HE has given me. But if I stop “knocking” then how will I see what I could have accomplished with his help? If I change my answer to “No! God this is too much for me” then how will I ever reach the finish line and fulfill the purpose he has for me? Luke writes in Acts 20 “every where I go from now on, I will find imprisonment and persecution waiting for me. But that’s OK. That’s no tragedy for me because I don’t cling to my life for my own sake. The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me”
Matthew 26:36-46 was today’s reading. In these verses the contrast within Jesus becomes evident. There is a tug of war going on inside him. He knows his purpose from the very beginning. He has been sent to suffer a brutally violent death on behalf of a bunch of undeserving sinners. He asks the disciples to keep watch so he can pray. So he can beg his father in heaven to relieve him of this burden. Jesus the human is afraid. Afraid to suffer. Afraid of the pain and humiliation. I know I would be, especially if I knew in detail the extent of the carnage I was to endure. He wants God to save him from what he knows is his destiny and purpose. He says “If there is any other way, please take this bitter cup from me.” Matthew 26:39 -the Voice. He has two forces at war within him, this is clear because he ends his prayer with “Not my will, but yours be done”. The God in Jesus knows the weight of what God wants and what his pain will accomplish. He is clearly tormented by these opposing feelings. Matthew states “He grew sorrowful and deeply distressed” this is what led Jesus to fall on his knees in prayer. Yet he has the wisdom of God, straight from the father. He knows that God’s will, “God’s way” will serve a greater purpose, one beyond his suffering. He can see the finish line, the eternal victory. Jesus also knows that God will be with him through it. He knows that he can’t honor God’s call on his life, his very purpose, if he doesn’t suffer.
After his time in prayer Jesus returns to find his disciples asleep at their watch post. Think about this for a second. The disciples know that Jesus is the son of God, they know him personally. They lived with him. Studied under him and probably listened to him snore at night. He has told them “I chose you”. The disciples know it is their duty to spread the good news to the world. An enormous task and God himself has chosen them to bear the weight of it…and they said yes. So I find it very interesting that when Jesus, their friend, who is in grave danger asks them to keep watch and they fail at the simple task of keeping their eyes open! I just can’t fathom it! How dare they!!! They let him down. When I fell ill I couldn’t have imagined that the people I was close to, people I trusted to have my back would find themselves with better things to do in my time of need. My flesh wants to lash out, to scream at them for their insensitive and hypocritical ways. But Jesus doesn’t do that he says “Maybe now you are learning: the spirit is willing but the body is weak” Matthew 26:41. As if to say don’t let the wants of your flesh win. I know that I must forgive those who have failed me when I needed them most, because I too have been forgiven by way of the cross.
In verse 42 Jesus takes his own advice. In Matthew 7:7 he tells us to “continue to knock”. Jesus goes back to his secluded spot to pray. Matthew records that he prays with the same sentiment and words and three times he returns to find that his “watchmen” are asleep. Yet instead of giving them the earful they deserve Jesus returns faithfully to prayer. He continues to knock and by wisdom asks that God’s will be done through him. Although his “soul is overwhelmed with grief to the point of death” (Matthew 26:36) Jesus does not fight back when he is captured, he walks death row willingly because it is his purpose. He can see the victory, he knows the end of his story. Just as he knows the end of my story. God has given me a purpose, he doesn’t just believe that I can reach it, he knows I can. I can’t say without a doubt what my purpose is. But He can. He created me for it. Jesus didn’t want to suffer…and neither do I. But God sees my pain, He cries with me. So I must pray that His will be done in my life and fully trust in Him. Not because he believes I can make it a reality, but because He knows I can. Jesus saw the obstacles in front of him and prayed to be relieved of them. But as a loving God he took the punishment on my behalf. He knows I was worth dying for, that’s why he did it. So that I could be free to fulfill my purpose, and he could be with me while I endure the journey. I can’t see my future. But I can see God in the midst of my future. My suffering is a stepping stone, an obstacle obscuring my view of the victory. It is a sacrifice that must be made in order the chisel out the person I will need to be to fulfill the call that is on my life. Until my victory is in view I must keep my eye on God’s vison of my life…and keep knocking. Keep Knocking

Letter to me

I came across this letter I had written to myself in August of 2017, while I was searching for the piece I wrote New Years day about prayer. It wasn’t my original plan to post this now but I think you may find it an inspiring exercise. When I wrote this my son and I had finally been granted the restraining order we so desperately needed. The emotional abuse from his father had come to a boiling point and the restraining order provided much needed relief. I met with the police the day after I wrote this and the following day the physical symptoms of my stress started to manifest themselves. I completely forgot about it. I want to encourage you to write one of these to yourself. Write it from God’s perspective looking down on his child. I will post it exactly as I wrote it…

August 30, 2017
I have learned that I can’t wait for others to be my cheerleader that sometimes words of encouragement must come from me, but more importantly I must believe they are true. It’s hard to fathom that after a life time of hating myself that these words can come from me. But I need to speak truth. Even more so I need to hear it.
Dear Tracy,
This week has been hell on earth. I know you have felt sad, overwhelmed by the injustice of everything as you have every right to. But please don’t stay there, don’t let those feelings cover up all you have to be thankful for. God has blessed you in so many ways. He has shown himself to you through love and constant blessings. You are safe even if you don’t feel that way at times. God has protected you thus far you must trust he will continue. To have fear, shows a lack of trust.
Give up control. You never had it in the first place. God loves you so much, he carries you, let him. Continue to work on forgiveness, you deserve the peace the comes with it. You are worthy of more than you have been treated in the past. Don’t let others decide your worth, only God can do that. Believe that you can heal from this. Believe that there is someone out there who can treat you as you should be, someone who’s love will cover all the hurt with joy. Believe that Ethan will be given an earthly father that loves him almost as much as his heavenly Father. You need to know Tracy that what has happened to you is not your fault. No matter what the world does to you don’t change. You have beautiful soul and an unwavering faith. You are doing so well, keep going. You have given up all crutches, and have made it through the most difficult stressful time of your life with grace and integrity. You are a warrior, you are brave. You have been given so many gifts. You are an amazing mother. Your son is safe because of you. He has a fighting chance to thrive because of the stability you have provided. You have kept going when you wanted to quit. You surprise me everyday. Ask for what you need, your heavenly Father sees your tears and will provide. Love yourself.

Love, Me

Welcome

Hello and welcome to “The Olive Branch” my name is Tracy. I want to thank you for setting time aside in your busy day to read this, I consider it an honor. I have decided to take the plunge and write a public blog, the encouragement my brothers and sisters in Christ have blessed me with has helped me take this leap of faith. You know who you are, so thank you.
Writing for me has always been an outlet, these blogs started as my journal entries. When I gave my life to Jesus almost 3 years ago I began to journal my prayers. It brought me comfort to know that more than the paper heard my cries for help. I felt God had extended an olive branch to me, by seeking Him I would find the inner peace and hope I was looking for. To “extend a olive branch” in our culture means to offer a way to end the fighting, an attempt at peace. God knew I was wrestling within myself with things that were bigger than me. I needed Him. At the end of 2016 I started my “God is good” journal and began recording the events where God’s love and glory was manifesting in my life. That way I could go back to my own story in times of trouble to help me remember how faithful and gracious God has been in my life. It took me less than a year to fill that book cover to cover. When I switched over to typing my journals I was able share them with others. The holy spirit would name drop, and I started forwarding the messages. I have been in awe of the positive responses and truly touched by my small group of reader’s encouraging words.
Since this is my first official post I want to set the record straight before I go any further. What you read on this site has been given to me from the Holy spirit. When I sit down to write I don’t have any clue what will spill out. I come armed only with a word or phrase of inspiration that God has given me, either from his word or through an obedient servant. I write it down with the context of how it fits in MY life. Then I go back and reread what I have written and the holy spirit will prompt me and I am given what is to come next. Then I repeat the process, sometimes I will get another line or a word that will trigger in my memory a scripture that fits. Then I go back and reread it. I am merely a recording tool that said yes to God. The mechanics to His fuel. When I start I don’t know the title or sometimes even the general topic I will end up writing about. But I do know that God is working through me, to help me. I never sought out to be an inspiration to others, it just happened to be a happy bi-product! Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Happiness is not a goal; it is a bi-product of a life well lived”. I write to survive, being told I inspire is merely a bi-product of me just trying to make it through the hand I have been dealt. I prayed God would use my pain for good and make it count. And once more he has answered my prayers.
If you don’t know me or my story, keep reading and you will soon enough. My hope for this blog is that it will remove any misconception that God is anything but love. We all have our doubts about who He is, what we mean to him and how truly big He is. I know I do. This is a recording of my journey through those doubts. It is at the darkest times in our lives that we seek to find him and he draws us near. He is in the healing that hasn’t happened yet. I know He loves me as the whole person I will become through healing not as the broken product this world has made me into. His love is the reason I turned to him, as it is the only source of healing for a broken spirit. This blog is the raw truth of how beautiful that healing can be. I pray you are blessed by it.
Many blessings and much more love,
Tracy