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.

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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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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”

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?”

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.

The Success In Weakness

As I sit in deep thought in my time with God, my head in pain, counting down the days till another brain surgery, I feel incredibly weak. But slowly I’m learning that that’s okay, and, in fact, is a good thing.

It’s when we become broken that we can be shaped in a way that glorifies God. When we are weak a strength that only comes from Christ becomes magnified and is a light to those around us. It’s when we become low that we are allowing God to reign in our lives.

I know this point in my life isn’t a mistake. It’s not coincidence. It has a purpose. Though I may not be able to do things I’d like to do right now—like go overseas and help orphans—I can still do my best to honor God in the situation I am in. And really, that is true success.

The Fire That Is In Me

My heart won’t settle for living for myself. It doesn’t allow me to be satisfied with “normal”…whatever that is. I’m far from being prepared for anything great, and I’m incredibly weak physically—it is not unusual for me to struggle to do an everyday task…yet sometimes I feel like I’m on fire. There’s something burning inside of me that doesn’t allow me to give up, something that makes me keep pressing on. Sometimes it seems as though the more challenging things become the more I move forward. I know it’s from God—He is the fire that is in me. Anything that gets thrown at me quickly becomes engulfed in His flames because nothing can put Him out. I could be too weak to take a breath and still He would be burning inside of me.

I don’t know in detail where it is He’s taking me, and I especially don’t know how—other than by His own capabilities and capabilities that He gives me. As far as when…I believe I am already there. I’ve not completed all the tasks He has for me yet, and they won’t be completed till the day I die, but I’m where I’m supposed to be for now. It is moment by moment and day by day that He will continue to guide me.

If I could only have one hope, one dream, one success—it would be to reach the finish line and hear Him say to me, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matt. 25:34-36)

Surely I Would Be No More

Lord, You are my hope. The life that is in me. Where would I be without You? Surely I would be no more. My fear would’ve overcome me. My trembling would’ve caused me to fall, my sickness would’ve eaten me through and my perseverance vanished. My patience would’ve ended, and anger would’ve gotten the better of me. Without You I would’ve taken a road that made me lost forever. But instead, because of You, my faith is restored. When I tremble in fear You bring peace to my soul. You set a way for me to go and prepare me for Your calling. You have brought me by Your side and taken me under Your wing. Your love has transcended all fear.

Sheltered, Perhaps.

To those who are taken aback when I’ve never heard of a particular song, seen a particular movie, or heard of a particular person: Sure, maybe I’ve been sheltered. Sheltered under God, and I don’t mind one bit because there are some things I just don’t need in my life right now that likely would only have a negative impact on me anyway…so why chase after it?

Give me a biography of someone who gave their life for a good cause, not the latest top-novel. I’d rather be filled in on something educational than shameful. I’d rather spend time with my little sister than watch my favorite show on Netflix. I’d rather look for ways to fix problems, not gossip about them. I’d rather build relationships, not watch them fall apart. I’d rather live with a purpose than just wait and see what happens. I’d rather look for ways to bring light into this world instead of drowning in the dark.

It’s God that I want to make sure I stay in tune with. It’s His work I want to focus on. It’s His will I want to follow. It’s His love story I want to share. I want to hang on HIS every word, not my favorite movie star’s.

Okay, rant over—for now anyway… 😉

“If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Paul

Are you in good health?

I can definitely say from experience, if you have physical pain, you’re going to (or at least you should) want to find out why so it can be treated and you can be healed. Being sick and in pain is not something to be ignored or you will find yourself in an unhealthy, pretty miserable state. …seems simple enough.

Something that is, in fact, often ignored is our spiritual health. We are often afraid of failing tests, our wounds being exposed, and diseases being recognized. But until some examining is done, we cannot find our weak points. Until we are aware of our weak points and acknowledge any areas we are sick, we cannot get the proper treatment and exercise to become strong and in good health.

Make it a habit to run a check-up. Examine yourself, but more importantly, allow God to examine you. He is the best Doctor out there, and to be sure, knows the best cure. But first, we have to be willing to receive the diagnosis.

 

Only For A Time

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭

Since I have had brain surgery (the last one was mid-September) I have not been able to sleep laying down and been waking up multiple times through the night with bad headaches. As I’m waiting for tests to be done and answers to be found there simply hasn’t been anything to do but wait. Of course, as with many other similar situations, I find God only using this situation for good.

When we go through any kind of challenge, whether it’s physical or spiritual, we pretty much have two options: to accept it or deny it and be stuck with it anyway. While much can be learned from acceptance, nothing good comes from denial.

What is acceptance? Looking for good in the situation and learning from it. Choosing not to be angry even when you don’t understand why you’re being allowed to go through a difficult situation.

I’m not going to deny that there have been times I’ve asked why, and there’s nothing wrong with asking why. We just may or may not receive an answer and need to accept it either way. In fact, what inspired writing this was my asking why and not receiving an answer.

I was, however, reminded that this is only for a time. And I find this is applicable to many other hard times we go through in life. I also find that it makes it much easier to bear when we fix our gaze on what we cannot see—God and our eternal life with Him, as is referred to in 2 Cor. 4:18.

One of the ways to shift our gaze to Christ is through prayer and worship. Just last night as I was kept awake from my head hurting and feeling quite miserable I was reminded of a chorus in a song called “Steady my heart” by Kari Jobe that goes:
“Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart
You steady my heart”

So many times it’s like God is the glue that holds me together—and not just holds me together, but shapes me into something beautiful—and He can do the same for you.

So, remember that when you go through something, it’s only for a time, and God can hold you together through it. Focus on our eternal life with Christ. Our time on earth is such a small, tiny portion of that.

 

Don’t Give God The Leftovers

It is often easy to worship God when it’s convenient, and to praise Him when we’re happy. But this is the most shallow praise and worship ever. God doesn’t fall for it.

If a friend is willing to skip a party they wanted to go to in order to visit you in the hospital it’s going to mean a lot more than if they came because they didn’t have anything better to do. If they give you a compliment despite the fact that they’re exhausted and have just got off a twelve hour shift at work, their words will be quite more treasured than if they just felt obligated to say something nice.

Now, if they came to see you because the party was canceled, their visit would be much less meaningful. If they take your friendship for granted and never have anything loving to say it’s not much of a friendship.

We serve a jealous God. And God knows it’s exactly what we need.

There’s a special kind of peace and joy that comes when we serve, praise, and worship when we don’t feel like it. It’s not always right away, but it pays off. Worshiping and praising God at our weak points makes us stronger. Seeking Him when we feel like we’re too tired to think straight causes us to rely on His Holy Spirit.

Be willing to serve when you feel you can hardly stand. Praise Him even through storms. Worship Him even when it seems like it’s been the roughest day of your life.

Don’t give God the time that’s convenient for you. Don’t give Him the leftovers.

My Shepherd

1CC03A6A-DD99-473E-A72D-9D059BC50248My Father searches for me;
He saves me from the enemy’s hand.
He holds me in His arms;
I do not go hungry.
He leads me through every valley,
And is my light when the evening comes.
When I begin to stray He calls my name;
He brings me back to a safe place.
In His full protection, worry does not exist;
Where His Spirit surrounds me, thieves do not break in.

Taking Root

C6D7C6A0-BDE0-4725-822E-9C9F9F319C54“Every dream, no matter how big, starts out as a seed. And like a seed, it often goes underground for a season. That’s when we get discouraged because we don’t see any physical evidence of the dream’s progress. But it has to take root before it can bear fruit.”
-Mark Batterson

As this year has been quite a challenging one, this quote from “Chase the Lion” (and the book itself) has really hit home. Picturing a seed breaking open in order for what is inside it to take root and grow—meanwhile seeing no fruit of any progress—really seemed like an accurate description of me.

The most important thing in these situations is to be where we are supposed to be. To be in good soil where we will get strong roots—to be where God wants us to be.

A lot of times at these points in our lives it seems like we are distant from God, in the dark and unable to see the “Son”. But still, He is there. As long as His Spirit is “raining” down upon us, if we continuously seek Him eventually we will break through the soil. We will see Him and His light will cause us to flourish.

How we react to being planted is so critical. Choosing to take root in where we’ve been planted will often affect our lives long-term a lot more than we realize.

Slowly, I am learning. Though it may be hard, I know it will be worth it.

Lord Over All

How great is our God who is Lord over all!
You cannot count the number of His days;
His time cannot be written down.
His arms stretch far out;
His height and width cannot be measured.
At the sound of His voice mountains tremble;
At His command storms will rest.
All of mankind shall bow at His feet;
His children will rejoice and be glad!