The Lord’s Hands

Let us not become blinded by the works of our own hands, but rather observe the works of the Lord and all that he has done.

When our love for the Lord is far above that of any other, only then can love take its full effect.

Always He will love us greater still;
We can never give our full return.

Advertisements

My Faith is Founded

Lord, in every mistake You continue to forgive me.

Where You lead me You give me the willingness to follow.

In every decision You help me to choose wisely.

When faced with a question You give an answer in due time.

With each challenge You provide the courage to break through.

In all my weaknesses You give me the strength to continue on.

You are the Rock on which my faith is grounded;
It cannot be torn down.

Here’s My Life

Here’s my life, Lord. Take it.
I want to be completely Yours, no matter what that looks like.

Every day, every hour,
Every minute, every second,
Every moment, every move,
Every thought, every desire,

All my love, all my hope,
All my life–may it be fully Yours.

Take away any distractions.
Anything that causes me to take my eyes off You—take it far from me.

Nothing can give a greater joy,
Or bring a better satisfation than You, oh Lord.

There is not one I can love more–
You are the life that is in me.
My heart can never be in a better place than with You!

Confirmed

It is only by the Lord that my worries begin to fade and trust is built up.

What was a fog becomes clear, and what was once unsteady becomes firm.

When my focus is on Him, I know that everything will fall into place.

All doubts will be washed away and uncertainties confirmed.

My confidence is in the Lord, my God, and not one can take His place!

Hungry for God

Desire the laws of the Lord daily and apply them to your heart,
Offering your life unto Him as He has done for You.

Make yourself hungry for Him–
Feed on His Word and be filled by His Spirit.

Those who are satisfied now will become hungry again,
But those who are hungry now will become filled forever.

A Living Sacrifice

Those who call on the Name of the Lord will sing praise,
One who seeks the heart of God will walk in His ways.

Those who live selfishly seek to receive,
Following whatever they choose to believe.

Who can better satisfy than our own Creator?
What plan can surpass that of our very own Maker?

We must fully surrender ourselves to the Lord,
Be a living sacrifice and in one accord.

Take the Reins

Lord, take the reins and make my way straight.

Guide and direct me towards Your gate.

Purify my heart, cleanse me of sin.

Darkness cannot control, it no longer can win.

Lord, You are greater than my every mistake;

You have a gift of forgiveness no other can make.

You offer it up, a chance to be free–

Oh, how great is Your love towards me!

I Think of You

With every sunrise I think of You and all that you have given;
Your precious Son to die for us to cleanse us of our sin.

While birds sing their song in such an alluring way,
I think of You, my God, how You have carefully composed each day.

The vast array of stars above–each one thoughtfully placed;
Even greater is Your love for all, given by Your grace.

By more than human eye can see,
You have designed a masterpiece.
Your voice determined when Earth would be,
And You know the day that it will cease.

Oh, if this creation is so beautiful how much greater will be the next?
Can it even be described and written down in text?

Journal Entry 11/25/18

Day after day I offer myself to You, and that will never change. Deep down I know there’s nothing greater than Your will. There may be other ways that are easier, more convenient, exciting, fun, pleasurable–the possibilities often seem endless–but it is not so. They do come to an end. It is only in You that the joy continues on, the flower does not fade, the fire inside me does not get put out, and Your love endures forever–and that is exactly where I desire to be. It will have its challenges, yes, but You are more than worth it!

Weight On My Shoulders

The weight on my shoulders becomes more than I can bear;
Worry and fear take sleep away from me.

My mistakes press on my heart and come to taunt me;
I seek Your mercy day and night.

There are hungry and hurting who do not know Your name;
Longing to be loved.

The pain of the helpless and emptiness of the heartless bring me to my knees–
How can things continue on this way?

Surely, these will come to an end.
Only You, Lord, can give us hope.

You have placed Your hand upon my shoulder and taken every burden from me;
By giving Your life You have freed me from my sin.

Only by You do I find relief;
It is You that brings rest to my very soul.

You uplift my spirit and lay out a road ahead of me;
It is You that I will serve all my days.

Your love shall reach even the farthest places;
Your salvation will be made known to all.

Your Correction

Through every pain You help me to grow,
They aren’t by chance, I’ve come to know.

In every mistake You have helped me to see,
Each one has a purpose, a reason to be.

Where would I be without each learning day?
If living in perfection then what would I say?

You are my Father, You help me to see.
By Your correction I have been set free.

A Heartbeat

With the pace of the waves on an evening shore,
Continuous as it grows forevermore.

Filled with love from its very first start,
It can blossom and grow, or be torn apart.

So tender and precious to be able to hold,
A value exceeding that of silver and gold.

Each one has a purpose, they are always unique.
With its own way of sharing, its own way to speak.

Every heart deserves to not miss a beat,
To be loved and to love, to be met and to meet.

It should not be stopped, cut off from the earth,
We have hearts inside that were there before birth.

We’ve been given a chance, can’t we see?
Are they any less deserving than you or me?

Quiet of the Night

In the quiet of the night I search my heart;
I seek to know that You are there.
Every dark thing You have overthrown,
And sin can no longer abound.
You reign, oh Lord, for I have surrendered my life to Your will;
Day by day I long for Your direction.

You know me better than I know myself,
Every thought and deed and where they are from.
You, my God, are King overall;
Not one can blot out Your existence.

Not One Mistake

By You, oh Lord, there is good in every hardship;
Suffering doesn’t go unnoticed, but causes growth.
In Your arms, tears of pain become tears of joy,
And all anger slips away.

By Your eyes, all color is seen;
Even times of tragedy become a beautiful masterpiece–
Oh, that we could fully understand it!
But who can fully see Your every work?
Who can understand Your every move?
Your hand is steady and does not waver;
Every stroke has a purpose and gives meaning—
Not one mistake is made.

Every Moment

Oh, how time cannot take hold of You,
For it is in Your hands and at Your mercy!
At Your word it comes to a standstill;
When You say, “Enough!” it will come to its end.
Our earthly bodies are made, live a short while, and are then no more;
But each of Your servants will become as new,
And what was broken will be healed.
Not one child of the King shall be forgotten!

Oh, how we will praise You in the gates and be drawn to Your everlasting love,
For You are all we were made for;
Only in Your presence is true joy and victory found.

You know our every detail–each desire and every thought–
You made us from the very beginning;
Only You can satisfy!

Draw us to Your dinner table;
Make us hungry for more of You.
May our ears hold tight to Your every word,
For they are as food to the soul.

Fill our hearts to overflowing with Your love and understanding;
Turn our eyes to what is true and just, and may our every moment be lived out for You!

No Greater Calling

Assign me, and I will go.
Speak through me and I will open my mouth;
Guide me and I will walk in Your ways.

Close doors, for You have a better way;
Open doors and I will walk through them.

Speak to me, for I have turned my ear to Your voice;
Open my eyes so that I may see what is good.

Fill my heart with Your unfailing love,
And may my life be overwhelmed by Your Holy Spirit.

There is no greater calling than what You have called,
And no greater purpose than what You have given.

My Selfish Desires

Lord, I have been blinded by my selfish desires;
They stand between me and Your righteousness.
Replace what is selfish with what is selfless,
And what has misguided me with Your Holy Spirit.

The greedy will only stand hungry for more;
One who lusts is never fully satisfied.
Only You, our Creator, know our every need;
Only You can fulfill the desires You have given.

May You, oh Lord, be my one desire!
All that I seek, all that I thirst for, and all that makes me complete.
Who can better guide the desires of my heart?
Who can better fulfill than one’s very own Maker?

Your Desires

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You!
You are what is good and honorable;
Your truths supply what is good and just.

Kindness is driven by Your Spirit,
And love comes from within Your own heart.
Not one can compare to You, oh God;
No, not even one!

It is You that I search for, oh Lord;
Oh, how I long to see Your face!
I call to You in the night and praise You in the morning,
For always You are good to me!

Hear my cry and do not look away from me,
For I know You have called me–
You have assigned me to Your purpose.

You have not made Your servant useless,
But have placed a desire within me–
Oh, how Your love has captured my heart!

I cannot walk without You;
It is only by Your grace that I can even stand.
Every breath that is in me comes from You, oh Lord!

Take my hand in Yours and guide me;
May my eyes be fixed upon you!
Let all distractions fade away,
And my every moment follow not my own, but Your desires.

Where God (Re)plants You

Sometimes God chooses to replant us, and it is not always easy. As hard as it may be to accept, it is going to be what we need most and what will bring glory to God. If we choose to accept it, we will grow, if we don’t, our faith in God will quickly decline.

My family has recently moved out-of-state and it has been quite a change. It had seemed like we were in just the right place–among relatives, a part of a church family, and many friends. With no other choice, we moved. Despite the challenges, I know it was in His will. It was not a mistake or coincidence. He has chosen to replant us and we simply need to accept it.

Perhaps God has or one day will choose to replant you or a close friend you have grown up with all your life. We need to learn to not only accept it, but embrace it. Take where He has planted you and live it to the fullest—as He sees fit.

Creation and its Creator

The beauty of God’s creation is beyond what we can see,
The complexity beyond what we can perceive.

Who can fully understand the hand of its Maker?
Or recreate something of greater function?
Surely, a creation cannot create itself.

It is not by chance that we exist,
The breath of life within us is not incidental.

Every intricate detail is designed for a purpose;
Every passing moment should be honorable to the Lord.

I May Not Know

I may not know exactly where God is leading me, but I know if I am following Him I will get there.
I may not know why some things happen, but I know they happen for the good and glory of God…though I will not always see it.
I may not know in my timing where I am to be, but I will in God’s timing.
I may not know if I’m able to do certain things, but I know if it is the will of God, I will be made able.
I may not know exact areas I need to grow, but if I allow it, God will prepare me for His perfect calling.

A Legacy

I want so much to leave a legacy. Not of things I’ve done, but of HOW I’ve been able to do them…and how others can too. God makes us capable of so much more than we give Him credit for!

For every task, He has made us fully equipped;
He guides us on every journey.
He does not lead us to failure,
But down the road of true success.

As You See Fit

Lord, You strip us of our love for evil and our selfish thoughts.
Our anger can no longer take hold;
Hateful words can no longer escape our lips or even dwell within us.

Your Spirit draws us to what is good and just;
Our hearts become filled with love and compassion.

You are our true desire and our perfect hope;
Only You can make us complete.

Persistently we shall seek You,
And You will make Yourself known to us only as You see fit.

God: Our Mirror

Today I was thinking of reflection. When we look at a mirror–or anything that reflects–from different angles, we will see different things. Ironically, my immediate thought on this was that we should NOT be looking straight on at ourselves, like, that would be selfish, right? Boy was I wrong.

You are probably thinking, “Well, we should be looking towards God.” And yes, I completely agree, but what is He going to show us?

If we are looking at Him straight on, (which is easier said than done) He will reveal to us our strengths and weaknesses, the good and the bad, the scars and the open wounds. However, if we’re looking from an angle, we won’t be able to see ourselves, but rather others around us–their successes and failures.

We need to be looking straight at God. We desperately need Him to help us see where it is we need to grow…not show us others’ problems! Look to Him and see if there are places you need healing, or things that just plain need removed.

Even if you just got out of bed or are having a bad hair day, be brave. Step up to that mirror and be willing to let God heal you. The more we allow God to heal us, the more we will be reflecting of Him.

Set Us Free

The Lord shines His face upon us;
Behind us all darkness remains.
We were weak and broken-hearted, but were made strong;
With joined hands we walk towards the Light of the Lord.

Praise of the Lord now comes from our lips;
Anger and dispute have no longer taken hold.
The enemy can not take reign over us,
For the Lord has set us free!

Hold Me Steady

Lord, You do not let me become discouraged;
You have fixed my heart on something beautiful!
While fear and pain surround me, they do not overcome me,
For my eyes are set on You.
There is a place to which You have called me,
And on that way you continue to guide me.
Where You have called me to walk I will not stumble;
For You will hold me steady.

Make [all] Time for God

Make time for God. Something just about every Christian out there has heard. It’s been rather unsettling to me in a way. Sure, we need to have time set aside to spend ONLY with God, but shouldn’t ALL of our time be for God? Living every minute, hour, and day, according to His purpose?

Did you know that God expects YOU to offer yourself to Him just as much as the Apostle Paul offered himself? We all have the opportunity to make a difference in this world, but very few see it. You have to be searching for it. Tune in to God, find your gifts, look where He has placed you, see what He has made possible for you, and find the tools He has provided you with! This isn’t only for some of us, but all of us, just in different ways. Seek HIS way for YOU!

To many this can sound treacherous, exhausting, and one might even wonder if it is possible. But it is possible, and when He becomes our purpose, instead of exhausted we become rejuvenated. We find hope in our challenges, mercy in our mistakes, and love in our pain. Don’t be discouraged my friends!

Fix You

Sometimes in my time with God I find myself hesitant to speak as I’m afraid all it is going to be is something like a long complaint. Tonight was just one of those nights.

I basically asked God whether I should keep my not-so-pleasant feelings to myself or if He wanted to hear them. Me and my rather blunt question got a pretty straightforward response: He immediately reminded me that whether I choose to share or not isn’t what matters. He already knows my thoughts and feelings…He knows and understands them better than I do myself! He made me realize that what really matters is for me to be willing to change. I need to present myself to Him, mess and all, allowing Him to replace my frustration with peace, complaining with gratitude, and anger with love.

Don’t try and fix yourself. Allow God to fix you.

You, my God, stand beside me;
You hear my every complaint.
No sorrow is too great,
And no anger holds back Your unfailing love!
In Your Name I find rest;
It is by Your truths I find peace.

The Eternal

Our God is Lord over all that is seen and that is unseen,
What is heard and what is unheard,
What is known and what is unknown,
What has been and what has yet to come.

He is strong, yet gentle.
He allows hurt, but He offers healing.
He is forgiving, yet just.
He offers mercy, but He holds each one accountable.
He asks for the temporary, so He can give us the eternal!

Oh, how we serve a good and gracious God!

Hope in the Lord

The desires of the Lord will be made possible,
And His purpose in us can be fulfilled.
Let us put our trust in the Lord and rest in His hope!
Let us praise Him in our joy and our sorrow, our strength and our weaknesses, our comfort and our pain.

Selfish dreams will become useless, and false hopes will fail,
But hope in the Lord cannot be taken away!

(The above photo was just from my quiet walk this morning…it was beautiful!)

Because of You

Here you have created me,
You know my story through.
You’ve given me a destiny,
I am here because of You.

You are One worth living for,
Your love for me is true.
You came to me, knocked on my door,
I am here because of You.

You’ve laid a cause upon my heart,
A way You’ve called me to.
From Your will I shall not part,
For I’m here because of You.

He Remains

Take me into Your care, oh Lord,
Surround me by the shadow of Your wings.
Guide my heart by Your righteousness and may Your Spirit sustain me.
You are my place of refuge,
It is in Your presence that I find hope.
You bring me rest in my discomfort and peace when I have been broken.

Who finds peace by earthly things?
Where in this world can a righteous one be found?

There is not a shepherd like our Father, no father like our King, and no king like our Lord.

While all else changes, He is unchanging.
When all else falls apart, He remains the same.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

There are so many times where it’s been tempting to just go with the flow and take the easy road. When we have the choice of less hard work, why not take it?

For years–about 8 to be exact–I have had what I believe to be a God-given desire to reach out and serve orphans with disabilities. It frequently seems as though just when I finally feel like I’m making progress, there is some sort of setback. Ironically, one of the first and hardest setbacks has been my own disability–epilepsy–and as I’m working towards getting epilepsy surgery, it still often is.

This morning I just want to encourage anyone out there who’s been striving to reach a goal that seems right next to impossible. God may assign us a task that truly is impossible for us to do, but then He always provides a way for us to do it!

~~P.S. To those trying to keep up-to-date: I’ve just had a one-week hospital stay/test, and we’ve got an idea of where my seizures are starting. Now just a few more tests and hopefully surgery in 2-3 months!!!~~

Move Forward

Lord, give me strength to not just stand, but to stand tall.
Guide me to not just walk, but to run.
Don’t allow me to do just good things, but Your perfect will.
Help me to grow into not only Your daughter, but a warrior for You.
Shine Your light not only in me, but through me.
Replace my selfish knowledge with Your wisdom.
Give me not only the wisdom to understand,
But the courage to live it out.
It is by You my heart continues on;
Only by Your Spirit will I move forward.

A Million Pieces

We serve an everlasting God. He has not changed, does not change, and never will change. He is the same as when He created the universe, parted the waters, shut the lions’ mouths, and raised Lazarus from the dead.

As cultures, traditions, habits, and styles change, we often try and shape God to our own liking. While it is true that God is a God of grace who will meet us wherever we are at, He doesn’t do that with the intention of us staying there. We have to be willing to change. For many, this can be quite a drastic change. Perhaps “for MOST” would be more accurate.

Are you willing to accept this? Not to discourage you, but realistically–if we want to allow God to reign in our lives we need to first be willing to be broken. Sometimes into a million pieces.

Lord Over All

You stand beside every victory and reign over the mighty;
You set the captives free.
By Your Spirit, every challenge You allow can be surpassed;
Every battle in Your favor shall be won!
There is no authority over You for Your throne is high above all the earth;
Kings and kingdoms will bow down lest they fall on their faces—
Oh how great is the Lord over all!

Act Of Love

Oh, how good He is to me!
Even more than I know…
What seems unfair is an unseen act of love.

What I don’t understand will one day come together.
He gathers the broken pieces and shapes them into something beautiful;
What was shattered becomes a masterpiece.

His children do not suffer in vain,
He is our reward;
His Kingdom will prosper and cannot be taken down.
As surely as the Lord lives, it will stand forever!

His light will overcome though darkness has not understood it.
They may cover their ears, but His name shall be proclaimed;
The sound of His voice shall be sustained!

Nothing I Have Done

Nothing I have done is deserving of His love;
But still He loves me.
Nothing I have said accounts for the grace He has given me;
But still I am blessed.
Nothing I have given atones for my sin;
But still I am forgiven.

How great are the mercies of the One True King;
His matchless grace sustains forever!
He has covered our shame and renewed our hearts;
Always we shall praise His Holy Name!

Have you “accepted?”

In my continuous battle with epilepsy, there have been so many situations way outside of my control that have been downright terrifying to me, and, I’ll admit, I don’t always accept them as I should.

What do I mean by “accept?” Well, I by no means mean putting on a happy face like it’s been a great day, but I don’t think complaining is the right answer either. I often think of Jesus before His crucifixion, when He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” …but as You will. As YOU will…that is true acceptance.

We all come across situations in life that aren’t as we’d like, and often times we have pretty good reasons for not liking them. There are endless possibilities as to the cause of what we’re going through–from our own mistakes, mistakes of others, some sort of natural disaster, an accident, etc. No matter the reason, God is allowing it. What I have come to realize is this: What matters is not the situation, but how we react to it.

What if Jesus had not surrendered Himself? Think about it. It would have made quite a different story, and that applies to us too; we often have more control than we realize. How we react to challenges may seem like a small choice, but it can make a big difference.

He Makes Us Capable

About a week ago there were several hours I was in a lot of pain. Despite taking pain medication, the pain even increased for awhile…I was at a loss of what to do.

I know we all have those times. Whether it’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, or some of everything. Things get out of our comfort zone, out of our control, and it’s not fun.

It’s times like these that I’m especially grateful to have God in my life. I know that He is with me, He created me, and won’t let anything come near me without making me capable to get through it. We can’t rely on ourselves, but we can rely on God making us capable.

“You calm me even in my deepest pain;
You give me peace in every distress.
All worry and fear melts away;
My strength is renewed at the touch of Your hand.”

Find Those Goggles!

[My brother was out kayaking on a river today and came home so excited to tell me a story of what happened…I thought it was an awesome story, so I just have to share!]

Somehow in my brother’s ride the kayak flipped over, and everything in it came out. He was able to find everything except his tackle box, which by its weight was sure to be somewhere on the bottom. In his continued search he found goggles that apparently someone else had left behind. He put them on and swam down to the bottom of the river (about 6 ft deep) and, with the help of the goggles, he soon found the missing tackle box.

It got me to thinking of how we see and how God sees. To be sure, He sees much more than we can see. Sometimes without realising it (or we’re just stubborn) we are searching through our own eyes and just can’t seem to find what we’re looking for. Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re looking for.

Instead of searching for things, we need to seek God, and when we have found Him, He will be our “goggles.” We will then see what we need to see when we need to see it and find what we need to find when we need to find it. So put Him on! 😉 Well…you know what I mean.

In Memory Of My Aunt Tee

She let me sit beside her on her bed as I worked on learning sign language. She sang along as I played songs on my guitar. She’d ask me to come play some more to “help calm her and put her to sleep.”

After a couple of times thinking she was talking to me I finally realized that while I was playing for her she’d be praying for me. All the time when she thought no one could hear her she talked quietly with God like no one else I’ve ever known. He truly was–and still is–her friend.

The cancer finally took over her physical body, but we can be quite sure it did not overcome her spiritually. Her faith remained strong and she was ready to be home with Jesus.

I cannot imagine how much harder this would have been had she not known Him as her Savior. I now know she is in a better place, a place of peace and no more pain like she has put up with for a long time.

Her favorite song that she had me play for her at least once a day was “It is well.” With her hand in mine as she breathed her last, I remembered that. Even though she was dying, that was okay. Death isn’t something we need to fear. It is often hard to grasp, but it’s true. God is preparing us a better place as we live for Him on this earth. This always reminds me of the verse Phil. 1:21 “..to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

(Lyrics to “When Peace Like A River”)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)

More Beautiful

I may never fully take hold,
But still I will praise You.

I may not always feel Your love,
But still I will love You–
And oh, how Your love is greater than mine!

You loved me before I knew how.

You carried me before I could stand;

You spoke to me before I could say Your Name–
Oh, Your precious Name, Lord Jesus!

I always will love You–
Even deeper still!

I seek You and find You even more beautiful than before.

A Little More Faith

Deuteronomy 3:21-22
“And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings; so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.'”

As I was reading in Deuteronomy this morning, I began to think of how life as a whole should be a continuous process of a little more faith. God is constantly saying, “See, I have done this, I can do even more!” but first we must have faith–and not just some faith, but more faith.

If our faith isn’t growing, stretching out past what we’ve already seen—what’s already been made clear—then it isn’t faith. If we aren’t trusting God to do greater things than what we’ve already seen, then, simply put, we won’t see it. In the Old Testament, the Israelites time and time again are an example of this…something often misunderstood is that we are a constant example of this.

We need to look at our own lives and see if we are expecting God to do what we’ve already seen, or something greater. We need to see a faith that is growing.

Over The Gap

Over the gap that no man can fill,
God gave up His Son of His own free will.
He paid all our debts,
He covered the cost
of all our mistakes–
He recovered the lost.
We step out on the bridge that Jesus has made,
Set our feet on the firm foundation He laid.
Our sins will be crushed,
Our lives be made pure;
His strength is inside us,
So we may endure.
Every task put before us,
And every struggle within,
With God on our side,

We will conquer and win!

Eternal Answer

We search the world for answers and find nothing that lasts.
We build our hope on what does not stand forever;
We rely on a strength that fades.
We bring fear upon ourselves as we rip the foundation from beneath our very own feet!
We try and take control on our own and what good comes of it?
We fall on our faces!
We take pride only to be humiliated;
We take a stand only to stumble around in darkness.
We seek pleasure only to drown in misery;
We long to be accepted by the world only to be rejected by God.

How long will we live this way?
Where is our hope, our foundation, our beliefs?
What are our goals, our passions, our pursuits?
Who are we living for?
Where is our mind set?
What is our purpose?

Let’s set our minds on Christ.
He is our only perfect, infallible, eternal answer.

You’re a flower, I’m a flower

Yesterday while out walking I picked wild flowers to put together in a bouquet. There were many that from a distance looked absolutely perfect, but then as I came closer I would find flaws in them such as holes where bugs had eaten at them and missing petals.

It got me to thinking of how much we are like those flowers. To put it simply, if we are making new friends, attending a new church, or moving to a new community, (in my family’s case, all of the above) we shouldn’t expect things to be as perfect as they may seem at first glance from a distance. If we do, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. I’m not saying we should think negatively–on the contrary, we should be thinking positively–but come on, nobody is perfect!

Going back to the flowers. They weren’t eating holes in themselves. They didn’t pull out their own petals. We grow up in an imperfect world. There are storms, seasons, diseases…all kinds of things that will try and eat us away. The important thing is that we aren’t eating ourselves or each other away.

A True Dance

The other night I was trying to relax as I listened to a new album with many songs I’d never heard before. In my mind it was as though I was dancing to the music, but rather unsure of myself as I wasn’t sure what was coming next in the song.

We go through so many phases in life–several at a time, really. While there may be repeated movements, life is always a new dance, a new song. It’s easy to be so afraid we will mess up that when we do, we tend to concentrate on our mistakes rather than the music–God’s music–extending the mistakes all the more.

To be sure, we need to be aware of our moves, our surroundings, and our attitude. But even more importantly we need to have our ear turned to God, concentrating on His music, His timing, and going with things as they come. That is when our dancing will naturally become graceful, beautiful, and truly lovely as His music is portrayed through us.

Question for today~
Whose music are you dancing to?

This, Too, Shall Pass Away

Oh Lord, how blessed am I!
Never do I walk alone–
You keep fear far from me.

When I cannot stand You carry me;
When walking through storms You keep me upright.

You lift my spirit from the deepest sadness–
Only You can restore my soul.

There is no one like You, my King;
Your peace and joy comes from no other.

I look ahead and see only Your majesty.
Your righteousness outlasts all evil and Your Light will overcome all darkness.

The enemy persists and the wicked oppress the poor,
But this, too, will pass away–
Only Your Kingdom shall stand forever!

Live, Love, Learn

I long so much to be able to help special needs kids one day. As I’ve been doing what I can to learn anything that might be the least bit helpful, I can’t believe how much I have benefited from this…and I am very much grateful.

As I’ve learned things about how the human body works, how it should/shouldn’t be functioning, I’ve learned how to better take care of myself. As I’ve been learning what it is that these kids are going to need the most, I’ve been learning what it is I need most. As I try and make plans, I’m slowly learning that God has the best plan. I’ve been learning what is truly most important, what really matters.

Sign language has been a whole other learning experience. It has been a discovery of another way to worship God like nothing else…I can’t even put it to words. I love it and can’t wait to better learn it.

Anyways, point being, I encourage you to find ways you can serve others…you’d be surprised of what you learn and the fulfillment it brings. Not only that, as we allow God to prepare us, He will open doors for us to share these benefits with others, changing, and even saving lives!

A Small Part In A Big Plan

Lord, I don’t know where it is You are leading me to, but I can somehow tell it is far more than I can imagine.
I may plan something that seems great, but I know You have something greater.
Whatever the task may be, thank You.
Thank You for allowing me to have a part in Your plan. It is an honor–privelege even–I love You, Lord.

I Shall

Who You created me to be,
That I shall be.
What You desire for me to know,
That I shall learn.
What You incline me to say,
That I shall say.
Where You plan for me to go,
There I shall go.
Where You will for me to stay,
There I shall remain.
What You instruct me to do,
That I shall do.
Your desires shall become mine–
Make me more like You!

What’s in focus?

After writing today, (you know, the old fashioned way with pen and paper) I found myself holding my pen out in front of me, staring at it. I then, still holding the pen out, began to focus on other things such as to the left, to the right, and far ahead. After a minute or so of this, I made an impossible attempt to focus on two things at once—such as the pen and whatever was to the left, the pen and whatever was to the right, the pen and whatever was behind it, etc. I was especially intrigued by the fact that I couldn’t focus on the pen without what was far behind it becoming a blur and vice versa.

It got me to thinking about focusing on God. God is big. To get some perspective, just keep in mind that He is bigger than the universe and outside the constrictions of time. Now, imagine that the pen is the here-and-now. If our focus is on the here-and-now, our focus on God immediately gets fuzzy. Then, if our focus is on God, the here-and-now becomes a blur.

The here-and-now is so, so tiny compared to God and eternity. That is not to say it is not important–every moment is precious–but it is not where our focus should be.

Our life on earth is so unpredictable. We can–and should–lay out our plans for the future, but we shouldn’t rely on them. God, on the other hand, is reliable, unchanging, and–well, pretty predictable. We know one day time will be rolled up and those who devoted their lives to Christ will be given eternal life with Him…and this is where our focus should be.

When our focus is on God, there is a major shift in what truly matters. Instead of wanting our dream house we want others to become a part of God’s house. Our deepest craving will be for more of God instead of our favorite junk food. Our hope will be in the Lord, not our success on earth. We will truly be able to say, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

Philippians 1:20‭-‬24 NIV

The Full Meaning

Nothing can take the place of the Lord and His goodness;
He satisfies what was an unknown hunger.

A taste of His love exceeds that of any other–
It cannot be surpassed.

The Lord knows my every thought and desire;
He calls me by name to His inner courts.

My heart is captivated by His mercy and grace,
And no words can express the full meaning of His love.

Perfect Lamb

Fill our hearts, Lord, with a new song;
Renew our minds by a joyful morning.
Your name will be praised by those who love You–
Let us fall to our knees in worship.

Your beauty shall bring the enemies to silence;
Your majesty will stand over all the earth.
The rich and poor will bow alike;
The proud will soon fall on their faces.

Whose sacrifice is more worthy than Your own?
Who can take the place of Your Perfect Lamb?

Why the psalms?

Many times over the last two years as I’ve had multiple brain surgeries I have received so many comments such as, “You are so brave!” Ha…this is so far from true…

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably seen psalms that I’ve written and shared, and something that I think is often misunderstood is why these are written.

I will use one as an example:

“By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.”

When I write this, it is not because I easily trust in God, never become discouraged, and think things are going just like they should. Quite the opposite.

“Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?”

I certainly do not write these because God needs to hear them…more like I need to hear them. I need to remind myself these things…like, constantly.

“You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.”

As I write these psalms, it is a sort of confirmation of choosing to take on the mind of Christ…instead of my own selfish, worrisome, conceited thoughts.

“Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?”

I can hardly imagine having a life without God. He is the fuel that keeps me burning. Even though at times I am a tiny flicker, ain’t nothin’ gonna put me out! 😉

“My God, why have You forsaken me?”

Just as Jesus asked right before He died on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” sometimes as we take up our cross to follow Christ we will feel forsaken, but God is always in control. Jesus came back to life and conquered death…often times it is right before our greatest victories that we have our times of feeling like giving up, like we have been forsaken, and like we have no strength left. Don’t give up! With EVERY victory there is a challenge!!!

Intuition

So…this is a short story that I’ve shared with friends and family numerous times over the years since it happened but never got around to sharing on my blog:

Driving home from work one day, I was in the left lane, not far from where I’d be making a left turn. There was a pickup truck in front of me with a ladder strapped onto a rack over the back. I became very uneasy about it and, despite the inconvenience, moved over. Immediately after moving over, the ladder fell from the truck, crashing on the ground next to me. I was a bit shaken the rest of the way home as it was very evident that had I not moved over the ladder would have gone through my windshield. (At a speed of 55mph, no less)

Some might say it was God speaking to me, others might call it intuition, and still others (including myself) say a bit of both. Whichever it is, it’s God I thank for it since He’s the very One that gives us gifts such as intuition.

Point of sharing this story:

God gives us gifts all the time, and a crazy percentage of them go unnoticed. This was just one example of a gift that was offered to me, and thankfully, I accepted. It’s easy to decline gifts without even meaning to, and in my opinion, this is most often due to distraction. What if my mind was overrun with anger? Would I have still had that feeling I should not be behind that truck?

Just as there is an unending list of gifts, there is an unending list of things that can be distracting us away from those gifts, many of which aren’t inherently bad, just…distracting.

So I want to encourage you to become more aware of your surroundings. Look for gifts and for things that are distracting you from those gifts. Remember your purpose and calling, cutting back–or better yet, cutting out–anything that is pulling you away. As Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud!”

Surgery Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update, so for the sake of any curious followers, I thought I’d share a bit:

For those who don’t know, I have had epilepsy for about 10 years. About a year and a half ago, it was decided we’d go through the tests necessary to move forward with getting epilepsy surgery. (Where they remove the part of my brain where seizures are starting) I ended up getting a Neuropace instead, which is a pacemaker of sorts for the brain that “zaps” (painlessly, of course ;)) seizures–mainly because it seemed safer.

Inconveniently, I was the surgeon’s first lucky patient to have a CSF leak, two infections, 18 weeks of antibiotics, and eventually, after 6 different operations, the Neuropace removed. (Crazy year and a half!) It’s been a challenging yet learning experience, to say the least.

Today, a test was done that showed the infections are gone, (YES!) and we can start working towards the original plan: to get the “focus” removed. For the next three months, I will be going to PT and basically doing everything possible to get well prepared for surgery before redoing the prep tests. (Surgeries, lack of exercise, and all the antibiotics have set me back a bit)

In a way, things seem pretty clear ahead. But I feel like one of the key things I’ve learned over the last year and a half is not to put my hope in things like surgery, doctors, and my own ideas. There’s still a possibility of the surgery not working out like we want. I may be here today and then gone tomorrow–and that’s okay.

I want my hope to be in Christ who cannot be separated from me and in eternity with Him that cannot be taken away.

“In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.”

– lyrics from “In Christ Alone”

Learn Your Ways

Be my vision, Lord;
When I look down the road ahead of me let it be You that I see.

Let what was of value become worthless and what was my own plan become faded.

May the way be narrow by distinct lines–
May Your Light cast shadows on the ways of this world so that I may be far from them.

Let me not stray away as I follow in Your steps;
Hold me near to Your heart so that I may learn Your ways.

God’s Music

Most who know me know I love music. When asked what my favorite kind of music is, I’ve always said I don’t have a favorite as I typically like listening to some of everything. But tonight, as I listen to the sound of the rain, I’ve decided I do have a favorite–and that is “God’s music”.

I love the sound of hundreds of frogs and crickets at night, (though I’m so NOT a bug or frog fan lol) waves crashing at the beach, voices singing in harmony, the rustling of leaves from the wind, the crackling of a fire, a flowing river, birds in the morning…just to name a few. Perhaps “God’s music” is an unusual title, but as God is the Creator of the “instruments”, the timing, the key, the length of the song, and more, I find it quite fitting.

Just an evening thought… 🙂

I shall not be discouraged

By You, oh Lord, I stand upright.
When I trust in You, I shall not be discouraged;
For Your plan cannot be set aside,
And Your time cannot be delayed.

Who holds their head above Your own?
Whose throne stands over the Creator of life?

You know my every suffering;
No pain goes on unnoticed.
By my side You walk with me;
You’ve given me life by giving up Your own.

Only You bring peace to my soul and true joy to my heart.
You made my very being–who can better satisfy?

Poor memory? No problem!

If you have a hard time remembering things, you’re not the only one. I don’t know for sure why I have poor memory, but it is likely from my epilepsy or medications I take for it…perhaps some of both. Whatever the cause, I’ve had quite a hard time remembering things I learn from the Bible, from basic words to names and references. (And whatever else I’m trying to learn) Perhaps you do too, and if so, I just want to say that’s totally okay–and can even be a good thing.

Being unable to remember verses word for word, where they are, names and such has required me to rely on the Holy Spirit all the more rather than just head knowledge. I still study, despite the things I will forget, and rely on God to guide me and take care of the rest. This verse has always been encouraging to me: (yes, I had to look it up…very grateful for the internet!)

“…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:12

I’ve always seen having the Holy Spirit inside you as sort of a sixth sense. Often there are things I can just sort of sense that aren’t right, places that I can see the Holy Spirit is leading me to go, convictions and things He is prompting me to do. Thankfully, this isn’t something that requires knowledge. This is something even a young child can experience if they accept it.

What does it mean to accept it?

It requires surrendering.

Allowing God’s capabilities to stand high above our own.

Listening.

Opening our ears to what God is trying to say, even if it’s something we don’t want to hear.

Watching.

Paying close attention to our surroundings, looking for ways we can serve and honor God.

Staying in tune.

So many times God will speak to others through us–or to us through others–often when we don’t even realize it. It is really easy to miss these opportunities if we are not in tune with God. I can say from experience that words are a powerful thing. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to say encouraging words to your brother or sister, don’t hesitate or let fear get in the way.

Be careful not to rely on yourself or what you know…rely on God.

“It could be worse…”

So, here’s my take on why NOT to be saying, “It could be worse.”

It’s taken years of experience for me to get this figured out. I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 17. For years, I was still able to drive, and would tell myself, “It could be worse…at least I can drive.” After a seizure where I blacked out I lost my license and had to take rides to work, but told myself, “It could be worse…at least I can go to work.” Not much later, the seizures became frequent and became very energy-draining to the point that I could no longer go to work. …I practically fear the words now.

Without realizing it, I was relying on my job, my car, my license–I was relying on myself, not God. When we rely on things, other people, or ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

We need to rely on God–who is always in control, eternity with Him–that can’t be snatched away, and riches in heaven–which can’t be stolen or become rotted…then, and only then, will we NOT be disappointed!

Now, we still need to be thankful for what God has blessed us with here on earth and need to see what He has blessed us with as not our own, but His, giving all to Him and living according to His purpose. We also need to remember not to worry about tomorrow and that it hurts Him more than it does us when we are suffering.

Instead of saying, “It could be worse.” let’s say, “God knows best.” placing our hope in eternity with Him. (Or as the song goes, “It is well; it is well with my soul.”)

We Desperately Need God

We have good days, and we have bad days. We have happy days and sad days, gloomy days and cheerful days, and some in between. Sometimes I hear stories of people whose entire lives sound just plain miserable…when these people are Christians, they often seem as sincere in their faith and close to God as they can possibly get.

Whether we are quite comfortable or are in a time of suffering there’s something that doesn’t change: we desperately need God. Ironically, when it is hardest to realize this is when life seems easy, not hard, and though it may seem as though we need God less in good times, that is far from true.

When we are on the easy road, not realizing how desperately we need God and relying on Him, we become very vulnerable, susceptible to sin and being deceived without even realizing it. In the Old Testament, over and over again we see the Israelites becoming vulnerable when they’re doing well. They become more and more like those around them, worshiping pagan gods and living a selfish, worldly lifestyle. It is in times of suffering that they soon turn to God to save them.

We need to realize how desperately we need God no matter the circumstance. If we don’t, what’s right and wrong begins to get fuzzy, our relationship with God seems boring and He becomes pushed to the side.

Run a check-up and ask yourself some questions:

Are there things that I’m doing that I’m not sure if they’re okay or not?

Is my time with God special or a chore?

Is there anything I’ve made more important to myself than God?

Am I living with God as my purpose?

A Focus On God

So often I feel like I’m getting nowhere…likely because in a sense, I am getting nowhere. For years I’ve been in square one: preparation. It has definitely been a real test on my patience!

I know there are many others out there in a similar situation:

You know where God is calling you, but you don’t know when or how you’re going to get there.

Those can be pretty big questions. For me, where I’ve felt God has been leading me seems right next to impossible. Often I don’t even know where to start…giving up would definitely be the easier route.

There are a lot of things I don’t know–I will always be learning–but one thing I have figured out, and that is to keep God as my focus and everything else will fall into place. Easier said than done, yes, but here are a few things I’ve found that should look like:

If my focus is on God, useless things will fade away. Things that used to bring me self-pleasure will be replaced by things that give pleasure to God.

If my focus is on God, fear will be gone. When I am looking to Him, no matter the situation, He gives a peace that leaves no room for fear.

If my focus is on God, true joy cannot be taken away. When I keep my focus on a perfect God who is outside the boundaries of time and my earthly body I will find a joy that can’t be found anywhere else.

If my focus is on God, I will come to know a love that no one else can give. No one is able to better love us than the One who created us, gave His life for us, and who created love Himself.

No matter where we’re at or where God is taking us it is critical for our focus to be on Him. We need to carefully examine ourselves and ask, “Is my focus on God?”

Only You Satisfy Me

Oh Lord, how I thirst for You!
When my mouth becomes dry, only you satisfy me.
When I become empty, only You fill me.
When my bones become weak, only You give me strength.
When my heart becomes broken, only You can restore me.
When my spirit is saddened, only You bring me joy.

I look to the Lord and all He has done–
There is no one like Him.
From the lowest valleys to the highest hills He shall be praised;
May every ear hear His holy Name!

Scars On His Wrists

One evening, when finally wound down enough to spend time with only Jesus, I thanked Him for always being close by my side. In my mind, I felt as if I could reach out and touch His hand. And so I did. As our hands met, I immediately saw the scars on His wrists…rather unexpectedly. It was one of those times where I mistakenly thought I had it all together.

I knew all too well Jesus had given His life–scorned, beaten, and hung on a cross. Something I repeatedly fail to realize is that it is because those scars I am able to be close to Him. I began to wonder,

“He may be close to me, but am I close to Him?”

An authentic, healthy relationship should be two-way. If we want to be close to someone, we will need to know who they are–their personality traits, their desires, their heart. Though I will never know God as well as He knows me, I resolve to earnestly seek after His heart for the rest of my days…and I challenge you to do the same.

Instead of just allowing Christ to be close to you, also seek to be close to Him.

A Future

The Lord is my treasure;
His value cannot be measured.
He is the One I search for,
I seek to know His Name.
My heart longs for His presence;
Not one can take His place.
He is my true desire;
He gives me hope and a future.

Opportunity

After rummaging around the bottom of our bathroom closet looking for toilet paper in the spot where it is usually kept, I stood back up with no luck. And what do I find? It’s right in front of me. Not where it is usually found, but nonetheless, right in front of me.

So what was the point of sharing that story, you ask? Well, it got me to thinking of God’s will for us. As we search for His will for our lives, it’s not always going to be where or what we’re used to. But one thing we can be sure of: it will be right in front of us.

If God wants you to go grocery shopping today you’ll be able to find the keys and you’ll have money in your bank account. If He wants you to go to Africa, He will help you get there. He doesn’t have a will for you without providing a way.

We need to be looking for opportunities. So often I am asking God to help me see as He sees because it is SO easy to miss opportunities right in front of us! God’s will for us is full of opportunities to give, to love, to show grace, to serve, to share joy, and much more…and as is in His timing for each opportunity comes, they will be right in front of us.

I Come to You

I come to You fully broken, and You restore my spirit.
I come to You covered in sin, and You show me mercy.
I come to You in a weak body, and You offer me a new body that lasts forever.
I come to You undeserving, and You place a crown upon my head.
I come to You hungry, and You make me full.
I come to You wounded, and You heal me.
I come to You with weight on my shoulders, and You set me free.