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.

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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.

Thank You, Lord, for loving me…

Thank You, Lord, for loving me,
For always holding me near.
When walking with me and talking with me,
You keep me far from fear.

You show me ways that I can grow to be more like You;
You teach me, Lord, that I may know how to love as You do.

You guide me through every stormy night;
You lift me as waters rise.
You keep me on the path that’s right;
You lead me by Your eyes.

You see beyond what I can see,
You know my every need.
You have a plan laid out for me—
Who You’ve created me to be.

You remind me that I’m not an accident,
A failure, or mistake.
Where I am I have been sent,
I am here for others’ sake,

To spread Your love and gift of life amongst the lost and broken,
To bring peace amidst the strife—
Share Your forgiveness of our sin.

 

 

What’s the problem?

Lately I’ve been reviewing algebra, and last night as I was checking the answer to a problem, it was not the same as the answer I’d come up with. So, I went back and tried to solve the problem again. I repeated this several times and became quite frustrated before realizing that I had the correct answer…only it was for a different problem.

All throughout our life we are finding answers. It’s a part of growing, learning, and the shaping of who we are. Sometimes, however, we can’t find the answers we’re looking for because we are trying to find answers for the wrong problem.

God always has answers, but we aren’t meant to have all the answers at once and not always as we want them. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but if we don’t receive an answer right away, then, again, we are trying to find answers for the wrong problem.

We need to seek God, and He will reveal answers to us as is truly needed and at the appropriate time.

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.

God Is Never Late

One of the things I’m having to constantly remind myself is that God is never late. So many times I think I’ve figured out where God is leading me when suddenly it becomes impossible or quite delayed. My instinct reaction is frustration, confusion, and disappointment.

This is where it gets hard. It’s where we can’t rely on our own understanding. It’s where our faith, trust, and patience are tested. It’s where we need to be surrendering ourselves to Christ, allowing Him to shape our lives however He sees fit.

Slowly, I am learning. Learning that if I can’t do it, either it’s not God’s will for me to do it at all, or it’s just not time.

We need to realize that if we are allowing things like worry, anger, and doubt to reign in our lives we are giving Satan control and missing opportunities of a lifetime that God has in store for us! What good is that?

Instead of worrying, let’s put our faith in the One who gave His life for us. Instead of becoming angry because things aren’t working out like we expected, let’s put our trust in our Author. Instead of becoming frustrated with the timing of everything, let’s rely on the Creator of time.

Let’s remember: God is never late.

Time-Spending

I’ve been using iPhones for years now, and for the first several years I had several game apps and would spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours on them. If I had off work or just somehow had a lot of time on my hands it was sometimes longer.

One particular day, I’d had enough of it. I deleted all of the game apps in about 1 minute, dropped my phone on my bed, and looked out the window in deep thought. I was frustrated—perhaps even angry with myself. I knew God had something much better to offer. I knew He had greater plans, greater thoughts, goals…I didn’t want to be content with what the world had to offer me. Instead, I wanted to seek after God and make His thoughts my thoughts, and His ways my ways. I knew that wasn’t something I was going to find while getting points.

After not playing any for over a year, I went back to playing for a while as I underwent surgery and recovery. I had a TON of time on my hands, and with the bad headache (brain surgery) and meds I just couldn’t concentrate enough to read, so it was good while it lasted. It’s only been in the last couple weeks that I’ve quit them again and it’s literally been refreshing!

A lifelong lesson to be continuously learning is how to spend our time wisely…it’s a gift we are given by God, and as His children we are to give it back to Him in a way that glorifies Him.