November 30, 2015
At church, tears fell from my eyes. It has been so long since I have felt the Lord's presence in a tangible way. I literally felt his peace wash over me as the pastor spoke. All throughout the sermon I kept thinking, "Okay, God. I hear you." I know that even as my life changes, God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That gives me such a sense of peace. It's something that I have heard all my life in church, but its those words that I hold onto as this season of life continues on. Peace comes from the presence of the Lord, not the absence of trouble. I used to think, "If this problem, or that problem, or if I could just have this, I would have peace". That isn't true. Peace comes from keeping our eyes upon Jesus. Peace comes from knowing that even in the midst of the messes in life, the troubling and uncertain times, the Lord is here with us. He is here. I tend to forget that while focusing on all of the negative things, the Lord is right here.
I know that I have a long way to go. I am not going to magically forget that there is so much in my life going on. But what I will forget is the way in which my mind has been bogged down with the negative thoughts and the negative events which have happened in my life. So much of what keeps us from peace is right in our heads. I am a worry-wart. I struggle with anxiety, and occasionally depression. If I keep my mind fixed on God and His promises, then the struggle of focusing on the negative and worry becomes less and less. How can I focus on the goodness of God by only thinking about the What If's, the Why Not's, the How Can's? God is good all of the time, and what He gives us is good. No longer will I see God as the taker of things. No longer will I blame Him for what I don't have. God doesn't give us things that are bad. He loves his children and gives them good gifts.
I feel as though I am entering a season of renewal. I know that my mind and my spirit need to be renewed. Now is the time for my mind and my spirit to soak in as much of the Lord as I can. I want to be in constant relationship with Him, not just when things are really bad, or when I need Him during a season of turmoil. I want this relationship to be steadfast. Steadfastness will lead me to peace. If you are in a season of turmoil, or trouble, know I am praying for you. If you focus on the Lord, you will see your mind change and be renewed. Peace will come. The joy of the Lord will come.
Happy Monday, xx.
November 29, 2015
This morning, I read my devotional, Savor, by Shauna Niequist. The initial devotional had to do with marriage, which at this current time, doesn't apply to me. So, I flipped back a few months and found a devotional on silence being a part of my spiritual discipline. I am not a silent person. Growing up, I got in trouble in school constantly for talking and "visiting with others", the teacher called it. Relationship is a part of all of us, but I think God gave me an extra dose of the desire to relate to others. Shauna talked about how praying for her would become overwhelming, and she felt it only became a list rather than a relationship. I am the EXACT same way!
So, this morning I woke up at my usual work week time, and decided I would spend some much needed time with the Lord before getting ready to head off to church. I decided to pray, but silently. I cleared my mind, opened my heart, and allowed the Lord just to be there with me. His presence can offer solace, peace, and love. I relished in Him as I sat there in silence. Suddenly, my mind wasn't on everything I wanted or didn't have, but it was on Him and the fact that I am have Him all the time. Jesus held me, and at this point in my life, that is all I need.
I definitely want to make this a bigger part of my spiritual and prayer life. Silence is new for me, but it can be so rewarding. I feel at peace. In your own prayer life, I encourage you to seek silence. Sometimes it can be all we need to get our hearts right with the Lord.
Happy Sunday, xx.
November 22, 2015
The Lord has really been working on me about this lately. I always feel as though I am praying for things, but I am never willing to wait on them. I am not willing to trust God, because in the end I am fearful that I'll be disappointed. That He will hear my cries, but deny me. That isn't faith or trusting at all. I know God is good. I know that right now, my life is good. All of my needs are met and I have everything that I need. Hurts from my past, disappointments, struggles, they all come with a scar. My heart is being healed as I type this and I am so thankful. I am thankful for Jesus who makes things whole and new. Is it instantaneous? No, but it's happening and it's a process I am willing to go through.
I have asked for so much, but in these times, I simply proclaim gratitude. I believe gratitude and thankfulness can change our perspective on our situation. I am thankful for so many things, even though there are things I still want, but lack. I find that we are always in a state of wanting. We want the next thing, or the next phase, or desire. We often feel dissatisfaction in our flesh, but in Christ, we are satisfied and content. I feel so convicted when someone tells me about the things that they want or need in their life. Most of the time, I look at others thinking they must have it all together. The truth is, no one does. We are all wondering, struggling, hurting for something.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I want to relish in gratitude. I want to be so thankful for what I have, that I no longer want. Is that 100% realistic? Maybe not, but its what I am striving for. I just want so badly to focus on the Lord in this season and what He has for me. I often cry out to him and ask why so many in my life are suffering. I often cry out, when will it turn around? When is it my turn? When will the break through happen?
If you feel this way, know that you are not alone. Know that I am also in your shoes. I just want so badly for those suffering, or lacking, or wanting, to be full and whole. I pray for healing. I pray for the ability to remain thankful and content.
"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around". Psalm 3:3-4 ESV
November 9, 2015
The holidays are coming up soon, and I have been in prayer about what that means for me and my family this year. As you may have read before, my parents divorced this past Summer. I was, and am on some days, devastated by this. How can one enjoy the holidays when their family is no longer as it was? How can someone celebrate this time of year when there is so much to cry about?
This isn't something I have ever read about. A lot of people don't write blog posts about how divorce has affected their holiday season. At least I haven't read any. I am sure there are some out there. What I have had to learn this year is that God is still a good God despite my circumstances. The Christmas of 2001 was a hard one as well. The day after Christmas we had to put my Grandmother in hospice care after her battle with cancer had come to a head. We all had taken care of her for those few months before, but it came down to her being cared for by us, or being cared for by people who could do it 24/7 and with the ability to make her comfortable. I remember being so angry that this had ruined my Christmas. I know that may sound selfish, but it isn't. I wanted the last Christmas we'd have with her to be magical, happy, and joyful, but it wasn't the case. That Christmas Day I had watched her sleep while tears slowly fell from my eyes. I knew that she didn't have much time left, but it made me think of other people who may be dealing with a painful loss or experience just as I was.
The truth is, Christmas isn't perfect. It isn't the time of year that hopelessness can truly be left behind. Some people are right in the middle of their hopelessness. Some people are fighting their hardest battle on the same day the Savior was born to wipe away hopelessness and death. So, how can one acknowledge this when all they see is hopelessness and death in front of them? How can someone be joyful during a season in which their family is broken? Holidays here and there. Holidays spent with one parent and then with the other. I will tell you how. By acknowledging that despite my circumstances, God is still good. We all have our battles. We all have messes in our lives that can't be cleaned up with a glass of eggnog and Bing Crosby playing in the background. Christmas is more about the realization that we are all messed up and that Jesus came down in the middle in the mess. He came to hold you in the midst of the mess, not to just wipe it away. How much better will I be because of these circumstances? It's a time of faith testing. It's keeping my eyes on the baby who was born in humble, mire, and messy circumstances. A baby born in a lowly place. The same lowly place we all experience. I can keep the faith as long as I know I still have a good God. A good God who is on my side.
I want you to understand that I am there with you, if you are having a hard time. If you are experiencing a life change, or a loss. My Pawpaw won't be with us this Christmas, and for the first time in 29 years, I won't experience celebrating with him. I know that we all would like to see bloggers with perfect trees and coordinated holiday outfits. Life isn't about that. Christmas isn't about that either. I encourage you to hold tight. Don't let the hardness of this world also make you hard. I pray that you find true comfort and peace. I pray you find joy. True joy. That is what Christmas is about. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what you do have, despite what you don't. We are all waiting for something. We are all enduring something. I pray you find that God is a good God in the waiting.
Happy Monday, xx.