Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Monday, December 1, 2014


 Spiritual Lessons 

I have noticed lately that Jesus has been asking me to give up certain things I have linked myself to, and attach to other things I never would have chosen for myself.

 I have linked myself to new "chains".  These chains are where I belong -- no matter how rusty or broken their links seem.  Sometimes the entire chain has issues -- but He has asked me to attach. Of course I'd rather be part of chains that are strong, unwarrped and without missing links.  But I am only responsible for my own link.

While sharing this idea with my parents of "chains and links" I realized that I could now pin-point a source of hurt.  I used to be part of a "chain".  There was a camaraderie, a certain loyalty.  There were understood "un-saids" that we didn't do....that would be "breaking our chain".  We were an alliance. 

And yet this chain kept me from moving forward in other relationships.  My allegiance was missing where it should have been.  And then recently my faith in this chain was shaken.  My world was turned upside down and I detached myself from this chain.  

For the last 4 years Jesus has been asking me to "detach".  From media that was less than Philippians 4:8 worthy. This is the ever-going theme of the lessons He has been teaching me.  Everything He has asked me to separate from were actually not "bad things" but they were chains I was linked to that held me back from possessing His best.  I could not take what He had to offer because I was linked to chains that held me back.  

When I lost faith in this recent "chain" I was able to let go.  And while weeping and groping in the dark Jesus offered a new chain to be linked to.  Chains are a little uncomfortable -- but the right chain is a security and a protection.  It's one of the best choices I've ever made. 

What I struggle with now is the pain of no longer belonging to the chain He had me give up.  There is always pain in cutting away.  I miss my chain.  Loneliness is worse in a crowd.  To be alone is hard, but to be set apart in a mass only emphasizes my difference.  Those that belong  to my old "chain" don't even seem to miss me.  My rightful chain is such a reward and I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be linked, but it does not compensate for the suffering of being severed.  I not only feel bereaved, but forgotten.  Some chains that He has asked me to detach from are not "evil" and I don't understand why I've been asked to separate. He has broken chains that seemed to be good.  Obeying Him has required extrication from people I have loved or who I was "attached" to.  Automatically I have become a misfit, a jagged puzzle piece that doesn't match any other soul.  

And yet, this separation has caused me to depend on Jesus.  And I've been able to accept the rightful chains He has for me because I am free from all other chains. It would feel better and easier not having to detach and yet He has become my everything because of it.  I can move forward.  This separation is a gift. I am learning to embrace it.  It is actually because He cares that He has asked this of me.  He is protecting me. How lovely to realize that He is cutting away the chains that hampered me, and it is His embrace that now chains me.  I don't want the old chains any more.  There is a cost to following Him....but it's worth it!  It is painful but who wants to be chained to something less than best when you can exchange it with Him?  

What could any thorn
Hold against a friend?
What could any cross
Compare to His scarred hands?

I can feel the thorns
Their power slash and sting
But with Him close beside
Can only kneel and sing

Wondrous Christ here at Your feet
Your glad friend forever
I'll never go no other way
But to Your will surrender

Such desire to talk with You
Besides the time to ask
No matter the cost of following
No matter the given task

I willingly allow Him 
To set my life afire
And let Him mold and press and take
Because He is the Potter 

Though this leaves me often bare 
Of things to which I'd clung
But with this painful outgoing
I've found that He has come

I'll gladly take this sweet exchange
For He is worth it all
And though I cannot grasp the why
I'll give to every call

When He tells me I must wait
I'll cheerfully abide
And cast on Him my every care
And be His little bride

What could any thorn
Hold against a friend?
What could any cross
Compare to His scarred hands?



  1. Toni, Chains are probably one of the best descriptions for a 'binding' to things we don't like... or a removal of things we did like... very good thoughts.
    I was attempting to finally write my entry on this blog and found that my 'invitation' to contribute had 'expired'. I was wondering if you would send me another.
    Thanks friend. Missed you today... especially while I was wrapping your birthday presents! ;)

  2. Thanks for your thoughts on this. Wasn't sure if it was clear to anyone but me. I know Lynea is going to do Chains Part 2 soon. Looking forward to that. And I will post your thoughts soon. Thanks for contributing!

  3. Very deep insight! I enjoyed reading it, but I do have a question. If it seems too personal you do not have to answer; I would understand. You said God gives so much more when we let Him break the cherished restricting chains (and I believe that too). I was just curious to know more specifics on how God does that for you. What types of things has He given to not only fill the void but bring you even more satisfaction? God has done it for me and I like hearing other people's experiences.
    Also, I like the poem at the end; who wrote it?

    1. Thank you David for your comments and questions. I am not afraid to share more specifically, although it seems a little overwhelming to try to relate to you just how God has broken certain chains and given me more than I had ever hoped for.

      One "chain" is my health. My family is pretty health -conscious and not one of us (and there's nine of us altogether) have had allergies or health issues. I always prized this fact. Until recently. This spring I started violently reacting to almost every food group. It has been a hard journey, really I'm still on it, but I have learned so much! I have learned how to relate to people that are sick. I have learned God at a deeper level than I ever had before. I have learned amazing things about health and have been given a passionate desire to help others who have similar health issues. I've already been able to point people to some good sources. Good Health was wonderful. But He allowed it to be broken. And I am so thankful! It has molded me into an entirely different person...but for the better!

      There are also relationships. Good relationships that I clung to. But they were an unhealthy security to me. And the Lord asked me to separate from them. And the Lord has since shown me the bumpy road I was headed down. And how breaking them off actually strengthened my trust in my parents and started a healthy relationship with Mom and Dad that I was unconsciously missing. They weren't bad people. Just less than what He wanted for me.

      More recently I've had to "detach" from relationships that were ever closer and dearer to me. I had to be cut off because of their wrong decisions. Talk about breaking! Heart wrenching. But it has shown me where I need to stand and it has allowed me to grow in my relationship with my parents and even to forgive and heal emotionally.

      Dreams I had by link. And Jesus broke them. But looking back I realize that if I had gone though with "my way" I would never have been given the opportunities that He has placed in my lap. One example is my recent job. I had a job that was very dear to me. And through unjust means I was asked to leave. This broke me. I had been praying about applying at a local business but the Lord would not give peace. I needed a job, and soon, since all my summer work was finished....but the Lord would not allow me to apply. Then one evening while earnestly pleading to the Lord, my Doctor sent me an email asking if I would like to come work part-time at her health clinic. This is much better a job than I could have ever hoped for, doing something that I love!

      Sometimes I still cannot understand why He has allowed certain chains to be broken, but I always know that the outcome means a deeper dependence on Him! All things work together to those who love Him. Thank you for your interest, and I hope this answered your question. I could go on and on... :) Your feedback was an encouragement. God bless.

    2. Thank you so much! It definitely answered my question. These kinds of stories I feel demonsrate more of the REAL side of life. I appreciate your ability to see the good in "disappointments". It inspires me. Thanks for answering, and keep up the thought provoking posts. God bless!

  4. Another convicting piece of writing. I'm looking forward to part 2!

  5. Oh, and I too would be interested to hear some more specifics of how God has given more in place of the chains...if you have liberty to share.
    If I'm not mistaken, you wrote the poem, right Toni?

    1. Thank you Jana! I hope my comment to David was satisfactory to your interest as well. :) And yes, I wrote the poem. :)

  6. Really appreciated this Toni. I especially liked what you said about separation causing you to depend on Jesus. Sometimes it seems that He has to get our attention, get us alone, and then we begin to depend on Him, and draw closer.
    Love you Toni. Keep writing!

    1. Thank you Emma for your thoughts. I really appreciate the feedback. Much love. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Thank you for posting this Toni. It did make sense to me...and something I can definitely relate to. Chains can be such unseen blessings. I'll try to post soon.