Waves of the open sea…

You know, when you are out on the ocean and the seas are calm… the sun is shining… and you are just like this is perfect. You watch the birds flying in the sky, and maybe a dolphin will jump out of the water beside you and you are just in awe. You wonder how can life get any better?

Then out of nowhere a massive wave comes and tosses your boat around. You try to find your footing and make sense of what just happened. You look around to see what happened and the sun is still shining, the birds are still flying, the dolphins are still jumping but you have just been knocked down…hard. There are a few options: 1. You can sit and curse God and say “What the hell just happened? I was out here enjoying my life and you send this wave out of nowhere?” You can sit and just dwell on how that ruined your potential for a perfect day. OR 2. You can still sit there, and still ask “Where did that come from?” But instead of cursing God for the wave you sit in it and let it take you where you need to go. You feel the wave, ride it, and on the other side of it you understand why that wave came.

It’s all a part of the healing process. We have all experienced our own trauma’s in life. And as dear friend told me, “…our bodies store these feelings until we are ready to deal with them. So, let yourself cry about it because it’s your pathway to healing.” She is so right. There are so many things over these past few years that I have stored away because I just haven’t wanted (or wasn’t ready) to deal with them. They come out in dreams usually and the weight of that dream can sometimes carry over into reality.

So, I will sit here and ride this wave of grief until I have dealt with whatever I need to deal with. I am not going to sit here at curse God for making me walk this journey. I have found so much out about myself, how strong I am. How worthy I am as a mom, a friend, and daughter. That I can do this regardless of who or who is not in my life. All I need is the faith and the reminders that God will be here to take care of me as He has all along. I will grieve the broken parts, let God repair the broken and let them shine for all to see so I can use them to help others.

Life is a journey. It’s how we respond to the journey that matters.

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Endurance

After writing here on and off for a few years, I forget what I write about at times. I’m sure I could go back through blog posts and see if I have written on this before, but, honestly, I’m in a different place in my life. Everything is different. I’m divorced. I’m a single mom learning how to cope with being a part-time, working mom instead of being a full-time stay at home, homeschooling mom. I’m learning how to co-parent – which is really difficult at times. Trying to not take things personally, and always making sure that my kids KNOW they are loved even when world war 3 is exploding in my house. It’s learning how to do everything on my own, but also remembering that I am going to be ok, and have family and friends that help me along the way.

I’m currently doing a study with some friends on YouVersion, and we are reading through the letters of Paul. Today I read Romans 5. I was struck by verses 3-6 in particular. They say, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” So, here’s my dissection of these 3 verses. You don’t have to agree with me at all because this is what I take away from it. We are all on different journey’s in hopes to end in the same place. With Jesus smiling at us, running to greet us as our journey ends…

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials..” – My initial reaction is something like -> I’m sorry, but HOW do you rejoice when you run into problem after problem after trial after trial? It’s so hard to keep your eyes on the end goal and not look around and say “See God, look over there… why do they… and why not me…?” But it’s not that you have to rejoice each time. You are allowed to mourn, you are allowed to grieve over whatever problem or trial you are running into, but it’s in the DWELLING where we run into trouble. There is a time for everything, Eccl. 3:3-4 “A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Everything has it’s time and place… we need to allow those times. Then we need to pick ourselves up and learn from the trials and apply what we have learned to the rest of our lives.


“.. for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” – When we train for a race or whatever exhaustion is bound to happen. The doubts creep in that we will never be able to accomplish what we have set out for ourselves. We don’t know if we have what it takes to finish. Sometimes, in this crazy race that God has me running right now, all I want to do is crawl into my bed, throw the covers over my head, ugly cry and worry about how I am going to make it through this stage of life. And as I stated above, that’s ok, but don’t dwell. Because through the trial endurance is being built, character is being established, and hope is being renewed. The character will define who I am as a person. It will show others that no matter what comes my way, I won’t handle it perfectly and will never pretend to, but I will handle it. I will give the glory to God, I will rise above the struggle. I will have hope and trust that God’s got this. And even though I will run into disappointment along the path, the ultimate prize will be so worth it.

“…For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” – God loves all of us more than we will ever be able to fathom. The love I have for my kids, the “to die for love” is even more with God. I mean, he LITERALLY died for us. So how can I sit here and doubt that God won’t help me through this troublesome time period?? “Christ came at just the right time…” Everything He does and the time period when He does it is exactly as it should be. So I will grieve when I need to and have hope that God will do what He does but in His timing not mine. Ecclesiastes 11:5 reminds us, “Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” I may never understand why the things that I have faced here have happened. I may never understand until I’m standing before God and I can finally see the BIG picture. Eventually everything will be made right. I have that hope. But until then I will continue to work on all the things…. You know things like: forgiveness, anger over the past aka bitterness, worthlessness, and so much more…


Shameless Persistence

This year my word is RESTORE. All that I lost, all that my kids lost in this past year, God will restore. Joel 2:25 “God can restore what is broke and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith.” It scares me sometimes. I wonder how is God going to restore everything?

Waiting sucks. God’s timing is never our timing. No matter how much we beg, plead, and try to do it on our own… God’s timing will always be perfect. So the questions arise, How am I going to glorify God through the waiting? How am I going to praise god with JOY when I still feel stuck in the muck and mire? It’s in this waiting where we LEARN how to trust God again. How to build our faith like some of the greats in the Bible. It’s our time to reflect on all the things God HAS done for us in the past and how he will continue to provide in the waiting.

My job in this waiting period to teach my kids how to wait on the Lord as well. My job is to show them that even though times are hard, things don’e go our way, life long dreams (that we planned as a little girl) don’t go as planned, and at times our heart hurts so much that we don’t know how to breathe…how to take that next courageous step in faith… how to get out of bed and have the energy to face another day…because let’s be honest, all we wanna do is lay in bed crying – throwing a pity party waiting to be saved. But as much as I… I mean we… want to do that, we can’t. There are three precious souls looking to you to guide them, to show them how to live in faith and how to praise God as we are crying and grieving.

God will provide no matter what. God will show up in the waiting.. in the gray spaces of my life, and I will pursue Him in shameless persistence because HE is the only way to get through the muck and mire.

1 Peter 1:6-9 “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even thought you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”

God’s got this. And I will wait for His timing.

woman praying

Christmas Reflections

Life, right? I never realized how hard holiday’s could be until this year. Having to share time with the kids, not having my partner by my side anymore… I was truly dreading Christmas and what was no longer. How would I be able to make it through each day? How would I be strong for the kids, and the family that I have to face? I probably didn’t do it perfectly, but I did it. I was forced to face my fears of this year head on, and I survived!

Lately I have been trying to live more in moment.  To be content in whatever the circumstance is. Christmas is already over. All the presents have been unwrapped, the company all back at their own homes, and my kids at their dads for the evening.  Time is flying by. My kids are getting older and I’m realizing I don’t have much time to instill in them everything I want to.  I am getting older too (as my daughter so lovingly reminded me the other day) and I want to live in a way that will make the most of my time with them.  I read to my kids the other night in Ephesians. It goes along with a new motto I have adopted for my family “Grace is Given, Love is Shown”. It was a highly emotional day and so I wanted to end the day with some sort of Scripture. SOMETHING that would just remind us of what is important this season. I read Ephesians 4:2-3 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” It’s such a hard thing to accomplish. Being humble and gentle. AND not only do we have to give others grace and show others love… we HAVE to grant it to ourselves too. We must be gentle with our hearts and not put so much pressure on ourselves. God’s here. He understands.

I have amazing friends that check in and see how I am doing. I have family to surround me and tell me I am doing a good job, even though parts of me are missing. Yes, I am still hurting this season, but I can and will turn this hurt around so I can help others. I have learned how to be even more tender-hearted towards others. (I feel big, so watch out!) I am learning to give grace where it’s needed and show love when I don’t want to. I will give a smile even when I’m dying inside.  By doing this, showing grace and love, I will have more peace. Peace that will spread out beyond my reach as the worry tries to overcome everything else. I can remember what this time of year is truly about. It’s not about the perfection… the show and image of what we think it should look like… or the number of gifts under the tree. Or how happy the kids are with what they did or didn’t get.  It’s about a manger, in a stinky barn. It’s about the baby in a bed of straw who came to save us from all this hurt and pain we feel. It’s about this tiny babe that will fight against the darkness that tries to win and steal your joy. It’s about an amazing gift that God gave us.

So, I want to use this gift that God gave us… this gift that will fill in the hurt and pain and share it to everyone. No matter what type of hurt and pain you are feeling tonight, right at this moment, you are loved. You. Are. Loved.
Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” We may be fighting long hard battles that never seem to end and we may be weary from it all. But God.  He will stand in the gap when we feel like we don’t have the strength to move on.  He will provide when we don’t think he will come through. So take courage and be brave. I am truly grateful for all I have gone through this year.  God has a reason for the pain.  He will turn it into something beautiful, but we must be faithful to Him.  We must be patient.  His timeline is not our timeline, and if we stay the course we will see the other side of this hurt and pain. He’s Lord of all. He’s the solid rock where I stand. So I will have no fear because God’s power is in me…it’s in all of us. No matter what happens in the next year, trust that God will break new ground, give you the strength to face whatever, and to hold your head high.

Hope Anchors the Soul

Over these past, oh I don’t know, forever…. I have had the opportunity to choose which voice to listen to.  Am I going to listen to the voice that builds me up, or the voice that tears me down?  Am I going to listen to the truth giver or the lie spreader?  God tells me in 2 Corinthians 12 “…my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses; so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” How powerful are these 2 verses? God will work THROUGH me when I am weak. So, much comfort in these 2 verses. So. Much.

I know that when my weaknesses are starting to shine through, I tend to sit in that. This past year has been hell. I feel like I have let my weaknesses rule the days. But as I contemplate everything that has happened, everything that I have had to walk through – God is that one that has been shining. No, I haven’t always handled myself in a Godly manner. I have allowed my emotions to rule at times, I have said things that I wish I could take back, I have had to work through many regrets. But in every single thing that I have had to work through…I have either had the opportunity to let God define me, refine me… or to let my enemy destroy me farther than I could destroy myself. It goes back to a blog I wrote a LOOOONNNNGGG time ago about what kind of legacy do I want to leave my children? Do I want them to remember that when I face really devastating times that I let them break me and I was never able to recover from them, or do I want them to see that I was able to break, but let God rebuild me into a better version of anything I could ever imagine?

"God would not put you through a refiner's fire if you were not worth refining." - Brad Wilcox

I have found that when I am anxious, and sitting in my weakness – that is when I am not accepting my reality – I am trying understand it, dissect it, make sense of what happened. But honestly there are things that you can never really understand. Things you will never be able to understand and process fully. As I work through all these emotions I realize here I also have choices. Am I going to allow this gross situation to define who I am now… and just become bitter, frustrated, and angry? Am I going to let the situation just unfold and not really change – good or bad? Or am I going to let this situation unfold, change me, and allow God shine through every aspect of it? Am I going to allow my close friends and family to continue to speak God’s truth into my life until there’s no doubt that God has got this situations back, forwards, and upside down? He will make this right. He will shine through it all. I won’t do everything perfect. It’s all uncharted waters for me. But I know, without a doubt, that God is reigning strong. He is changing me and showing me I am stronger than I ever thought possible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) My life doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to God.

So, every day I will choose FAITH over fear; PRAYER over worry; and SURRENDER over control. It’s a learning process and one that I will learn the rest of my days. But I will strive to do better, strive to live that way Christ desires that I do, and own up to my short-comings so Christ can continue to refine me. Life is a journey. Not an easy one, but a journey. So, I will DELIGHT in my weaknesses so I can help others who are in the same boat.

Hebrews 6:19 on reclaimed pallet wood board. Size:  Item measures 20x24    Colors:  The background is distressed black.  Lettering is antique white

Strongholds

I posted this on FB this morning, but I feel so strongly about it.  I thought I would share here too.  I have no idea who reads this.. so maybe it will speak to someone.

It is so easy for this side of life to drag you down… things happen and you – I – internalize it and it slowly eats me away until I am a shattered shell of who I once was. When we allow our enemy to have that strong of a hold on our lives it will never turn out in our favor.

This past year I have been fighting to put all the pieces back together that have been shattered. To find my spark and joy again. The only way to do that is to remain steadfast and true to the promises that God’s got this. He is my stronghold… He is my firm foundation…He is where I go to find my peace.

It’s still not perfect, and never will be. I still struggle daily to fight the war and I feel the weight of everything…but I know that I only have to look up and see God there holding out his hand for me to rest again in his perfect peace.

What comes to mind as I look at this picture… It’s how I feel most of the time when God is telling me to do something I really don’t want to. I am standing at the edge of a cliff just looking down at the churning water, scared out of my mind and looking at God saying “I’m sorry you want me to jump there?!” And he just smiles and is like “yep, do you you trust me?” I shake my head in disbelief but what I don’t see at the time that he is asking me to jump… is this huge invisible safety net that is sitting somewhere near the water that will catch me… sometime the safety net is in the water and it catches me before I am fully submerged in the churning… but it’s always there. As scary as situations are… God will always catch us. He will always provide… we just have to trust that the net is there and jump.

Stonghold

So, are you gonna jump?

It’s time to Just Be

I let my dogs out tonight and sat on the back steps for a while while they sniffed the grass and the air to make sure everything was safe for mom.  The cool air refreshing, not sticky… welcoming, not oppressive.   I could literally sit outside on a night like this with a massive hooded sweatshirt on and my yoga pants (cause lets be honest yoga pants are the bomb – and I just dated myself! Ha whatever…)  Moving on, I could sit there with my comfy, grungy clothes on, looking worn and tired while sitting in front of a fire – that I built mind you – and just be.  The cool air hitting my lungs and cleansing myself of all the crap that I walk through every single day.  I can sit, and listen for the most important voice, because it’s finally calm.  I can finally be still in the presence of God, and just be.  I can release, and let everything that I am holding onto so tightly fall off of me like the leaves fall off the trees when a breeze rustles them loose from their branches.   The stress, the heartache that usually fall down my cheeks until my eyes are puffy and red… It can all just blow away, as I sit in the presence of the Most High.

This past year has been my nightmare come true.  So much heartache, so much change.  Sometimes there are things that I honestly still can’t wrap my head around, and maybe I never will this side of heaven.  You grow up thinking that life is going to picture perfect and that everything will be all “Snow White and Prince Charming” – sorry reference to Once Upon A Time.  But it’s not.  It’s far from it actually.  Life is really hard sometimes.  It’s a theme here lately…the challenges of life.  When we face challenges this side of heaven it can feel unbearable at times.  Divorce, cancer, death, job loss, uncertainty of what the next step should be, etc.  There’s so much to worry about and fear that it will bog us down if we aren’t careful.  I’m constantly reminded of Peter walking out on the water to Jesus.  Taking that bold step of faith even when he was scared out of his mind.  It’s such a great image to keep close.  When we keep our eyes completely focused on Jesus, we can do the impossible.  But the second we start to worry and fret… which I am GREAT at by the way… we sink.

Peter

If we aren’t careful we will allow ourselves to get shaken to the core of who we are, and will be turned to the dust and rubble of our past.  I know I do it all the time.  I allow myself to get shaken by all the change, all the storms surrounding me and forget to look straight into the eyes of the ONLY one who gets me.  I look around and feel like I am alone.  I end up binge eating fruit snacks and drinking Pepsi.  I start throwing myself a pity party become self-indulgent, and start focusing on all the wrong things… usually all the things I have lost.  And why do I do this?  Because I’m a “Lego” Peter and took my eyes off of “Lego” Jesus.  I put on the happy face and pretend that all is well, but deep down I am dying inside.  I have forgotten how to be thankful for everything I DO have while facing the storm.  I have forgotten to look at the silver lining of the struggle. #silverliningpeople

It’s so exhausting living in my head sometimes.  I question and second guess and wonder what people will think of me if they knew everything. I wonder how I could have handled things differently.  I wonder where I messed up and why he walked away from me.  I continue to question what God is doing and why. Constantly asking “Why is this happening God?  Why do you think I am strong enough to handle all this crap?” When I question the storm I show my doubt in God’s power. It’s basically like I am saying “Hey, listen here, I can do a better job at this life God.  Thanks for trying.”  It’s me working on one upping God and proving to him that my plan is better.  I let the fear and uncertainty rule my life.  I have such a limited perspective… my tunnel vision takes over and I can’t see anything but what’s right in front of me.  If we are honest, all of us do that.  Why?  Because we are human. We are not meant to see the full picture because then it would negate the whole purpose of having faith and why Jesus existed!  We are so small and can only see glimpses of everything.  But yet we refuse at times to see past the mountain of uncertainty in front of us to even try to see the promise that God’s got this.  I do this all the time…you think I would have learned by now.  But I am not perfect by any means, and I am trying to do better.

When I was kid I had all these dreams and aspirations.  I figured that since I did all the right things, said all the right things, and went to all the right places that God would bless my socks off.  He would be as faithful to me because I was faithful to him.  Ha!  Let me tell you how wrong that thinking is people!  God is ALWAYS faithful to us even when we turn out backs on Him… He’s always right there waiting for us to collapse in his arms when we realize we can’t do this without him. And sometimes he sees that we are a warrior for him, a soldier in his army,  and he will test us to refine us.  He will put storms in our path to see how we cope, and to strengthen our armor.  Sometimes those storms are the hardest, most painful experiences ever but “God wants to purify us and pain is a conduit for that.” (Lisa Harper)  I am constantly reminded that I need to praise God even when everything seems to be taken from me (because it’s not, it just feels like that).  He will remain faithful to me no matter what and I have to trust the process.  He will redeem all the hurt and all the pain, but it will be in his time and in his way.  If I take my eyes off of him… I will sink. It will feel like I’m starting over at ground zero every single time.  God’s got this, now do I trust him enough to prove it? Do I trust him enough to SEE his faithfulness?  Will I trust his timeline?  Yes, I can… Yes I do… and Yes I will.

Fall is seriously one of my most favorite seasons, and we’ve been blessed with the fall like weather these past couple days.  The crisp air, the cool nights, hooded sweatshirts, fires and s’mores… and seriously don’t get me started on all the tastes and smells (not the “pumpkin spice literally everything” tastes and smells though).  Fall reminds me that change is good, no matter how hard it may appear, and how much work you need to do to make yourself presentable again.  I mean come on, who wants to always look out and see the brown crinkly leaves?  Fall is like dying to our old self and allowing God to bring something new in the right season.  There may be a little chill in the air for a time while you figure it all out, but everything always comes up more radiant and beautiful when we trust that God will come through.

So, here’s to fall… and to Peter for taking the bold step of faith.

God Days

Have you ever had those days when you see God so clearly?  When He knocked at your heart’s door and is like, “Hey… are you ready to see what I am going to do today?”  That was my day yesterday.  It was amazing.  To see God so clearly in so many different aspects, and in so many different lives and ways was just what I needed to refresh my perspective on everything.  Instead of waking up feeling bogged down with life and fearful and stressed… Today I woke up KNOWING without a doubt that God. Is. Here.

I was reading in the Psalms this morning, and listening to one of my favorite worship songs Speak by Bethany Worship.  God reminded me that he has never left me.  I am the one who turns around to not look at Him because I am ashamed of whatever it is I have told myself.  Even on my darkest days when I feel more than alone, he is literally right there next to me, carving out the path that I am supposed to take.  He is putting people in my life to remind me of who I am.  I am not the person I was a year ago from today.  I am standing taller, stronger, wiser… closer to God than I ever have been.

So back to what I was reading this morning.  It was Psalm 27.  Here’s what struck a chord with me. God is always going before me.  Starting in verse 3-6,

“Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid.  Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. The one thing I ask of the Lord – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.  For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary.  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.  Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.  At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.”

A mighty army.  What exactly does that look like?  I think it has different meanings for everyone.  I know that I see certain people in my life as my enemies, and God is working on me with that one.  I am working through all the crap that I need to with that.  But my biggest enemy is myself.  What I am most afraid of – on more days than I care to admit – is myself.  God sets me up high, hiding me in his sanctuary to protect me from the lies I tell myself.  The lies that I am not good enough, worthy enough, fun enough… whatever.  God wants to change my inner self-talk, so I am meditate on Him instead of what my BIGGEST enemy wants me to meditate on.

When you surround yourself with things or people, you start to mimic what they say, and how they act.  You justify how you behave or what you say because the things you have surrounded yourself with tell you it’s ok. It’s just part of our human nature. I’m sure I do it more than I care to admit. That’s when I ask myself, who do I want to be like? My answer: I want my life to reflect Christ and no one else.  I want my kids to see that no matter what curveball, fastball, whatever ball life threw at me… my focus will  immediately turn to God and learning to trust his process.

No matter what happens in my life.  I need to remember that God is here.  I have to be thankful for the good, and the bad.  I have to circle back and praise God daily.

“When every blessing that isn’t turned back into praise to God… it will be turned into pride.” – Craig Groeschel.

1 Thess

 

Good Grief

God has this uncanny way of coming through right when I need it.  There is a key word there… Do you know what it is?  The word is need.  God doesn’t come through when I want it, or when I think I deserve it.  He comes through when I NEED it. When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they never received more than what they needed.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to trust, those first few days or weeks, that every single day manna was going to rain down from the sky.  But God provided.  Manna can mean so many different things… it could be patience with your children, grace and forgiveness for mistakes, strength to face another day… whatever it is God will provide it.

Hebrews 416

God never promised me an easy journey.  He never promised anyone an easy journey.  It’s how we handle what we are given that matters.  I know I don’t handle myself perfectly all the time. I don’t show the grace, love, and forgiveness that I should at every moment, but who does?  My mistake was when I assumed that since I was a good Christian girl and rarely did anything wrong growing up… that I would have an easy adult life.  That God would bless me and would answer every prayer I ever had growing up.  Well, guess who was wrong?  This girl!  Even though my journey is a little, ok a lot, rocky right now, it’s still my journey and it’s worth it. Deep down I know it is. God is changing me, molding me into the person he wants me to be. And when you are on the right path, you begin to see God in unexpected ways.  It’s in a simple emotional yet encouraging conversation with friends.  It’s in the daisy or two that you find in a parking lot. It’s in being invited on a walk by someone you barely know. It’s in the whisperings to your soul that He is there.  He brings the right sermon message, the right friends (new and old) at just the right time, or the right song plays on the radio the exact moment you need those words.

It’s in the slow letting go of old feelings and emotions that hold you hostage to a past that you thought would lead to a dream.  Those feelings and emotions can rear their ugly head when you least expect it.  I think that’s God’s way of saying… “hey, you have some more stuff to work through here.  Yeah, I know you thought you had already worked through this stuff… but there’s some more refining that needs to be done.”  Good grief!  This process of refinement is so hard!  Nothing worth the effort is easy or painless.  Grieving what is no longer is through that refinement…isn’t just a simple check list.  It’s a complicated network of emotion!  It’s a process… plain and simple.  A process that you MUST go through to be who God intended all along.

There are times when I confuse the grief process with weakness.  I start to feed myself the lies and tell myself that I should be stronger, that I shouldn’t have these emotions.  But when you are grieving the loss of something, emotions are normal. I’m not a robot.  I can’t just shove it down and never deal with it.  I’ve tried doing that in my past and it brought me to a breaking point.  Look at Jesus.  He grieved.  He wept over the loss of Lazarus, he mourned over John’s death.  He allowed his humanness to feel so He could relate. So we could see his power and grace when we are at the end of our ropes.

God’s here even when we don’t believe it.  Even when we can’t feel it.  He’s here.  When we take our eyes off him, we fall. When we keep our eyes completely focused on Him, even when our world is falling apart we can do the impossible.  We can heal.  We can forgive.  We can move on.

Peter

 

Surrender

I haven’t been sleeping again.  Not sure why.  Stress does weird things to the body.  At night when the house is quiet, my mind doesn’t shut off.  I worry about everything.  I try to read my Bible and gleam any insight I can from that.  But sometimes the tears flow so much that the words just blur together and nothing makes sense.  When you go through these valleys… they seem to never end.  You begin to wonder where God is.  I question everything.  I question my faith.  I question myself and my decisions.  I doubt and second guess everything.  But God…

I woke up at midnight cause my dog was sick.  I let him out and watched the snow falling in my backyard.  I’m so ready for the snow to be gone, and spring to come so I can start planting my garden…but there is a peacefulness about falling snow.  It’s a quiet that you don’t get anywhere else.  There are times when the snow is falling… that’s when I feel closest to God.  Telling me He’s right here with me.  Holding me, crying with me, strengthening me…

I brought my dog back in, checked on the kids sleeping soundly in their beds, and I couldn’t fall asleep.  I opened my phone and went to my YouVersion app.  And here’s what I found out.  That no matter how terrible of a person I feel like I am, or how much I doubt that I will ever be loved again… God meets me right where I am.  He never leaves me.  If you don’t mind, I am going to share what I read last night…

“To surrender is our heart admitting our weakness. (I hate looking and feeling weak) To accept is our ego demanding the illusion of still being in charge.  (Right there was enough to stop my in my tracks…the illusion of being in charge… but I read on.)

Even if we finally yearn to break away from our illusion of control, in today’s selfie culture that will be far more difficult that we think.  But it must start with the recognition that we play no part in the transaction.  Jesus says clearly in John 15:16, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you.”

Moses didn’t have a say in the bush burning near him.  Mary didn’t get to choose if the angel suddenly appeared.  Paul had absolutely no control on the Damascus Road.  We may pretend to play a role in ‘accepting’ Jesus, but God demands that our surrender be unconditional.

Surrender is the key that unlocks the other mysteries.  Without it, we remain stuck at square one.”

I mean come on people.  I wish that I had written that myself.  It’s everything I struggle with.  Surrendering all that I am to my God.  I struggle with surrendering the mess that I am to Him.  He did so much for me, and I completely miss the mark at times.  But God, he doesn’t ask me to bring a perfect version of myself to him.  If I were perfect I wouldn’t have anything to work on, I wouldn’t have anything to lay down at the foot of the cross.  James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”  Do I want to take all the credit in saying I brought myself through my mess?  It would just fuel my pride that I am so desperately trying to shake.  I want to get through this mess and be able to without a doubt point to Christ and say He brought me through.  He guided my steps, my heart and my mind.

“So, humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time (NOT BEFORE, but at the right time) he will lift you up in honor.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.  In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”  1 Peter 5:6-10

I have to let my pain become my inspiration…

I have to do my part…

I have to let God be God.