Do We Say Thank You?

Over the course of the past year, I have been doing a devotional based on the chronological life of Jesus. It is very interesting and very often convicting. Today was one of those convicting days. The story today, was the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. The story is found in Luke chapter 17. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and is traveling to different villages along the way.

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

As I read through these words that I have read so many times before, I thought, how could they not return and say thank you when such an amazing thing had happened to them?

Immediately, I felt the Holy Spirit say, do you go back and say thank you? I then thought about all the times in a day when I cry out to God to help me with something, whether it is to make it to where I am going when my gas tank is low, or to help me have strength to do something that I need to do. Or maybe to find something I need at a store, you get my point. I cry out to God to help me with a million things a day and yet how many times do I take the moment to stop and thank and praise him for those things? How often do I even remember that I asked him to help with a particular thing and realize that he helped me? It was a tough enough realization that I probably don’t do this any where near enough, but the conviction didn’t stop there. I then thought about what do I do when God hasn’t answered something where or when or how I would want? God does more things than I can count for me in a day why is it that I forget to thank him for those things but I am very quick to remember the things I feel he didn’t do? The truth is I am no different most the time than those 9 lepers who did not return to Jesus. I go about my day and while of course I am thankful, how often do I actually stop and take the time to thank him and praise him for all He does for me throughout the day and for all he has done for me throughout my life? Are those things any less incredible than the lepers being healed? No, of course not! Jesus rescued me, He lived for me, He died for me, He rose conquering sin and death and made a way that I could become a daughter of God. What could be more incredible than that! He doesn’t stop there though, He walks with me daily, He rejoices with me, He weeps with me, He carries me when I don’t have the strength to go on. Yet, what do I do? I worry, I complain about the things in may life that he hasn’t changed or fixed or healed etc. I have often said if I put half the time I spend worrying and complaining into praying who knows what would happen?!

Why do I do this? Why is it that I let so much of what is going on around me take over my thoughts and forget how utterly amazing God is? Regardless of why, I know the solution is to more and more remind myself of who God is, to remind myself of the truth of the Gospel moment by moment because sometimes day by day isn’t enough. To allow my faith to rise up. Jesus told the man rise and go, your faith has made you well To remember that above all God is sovereign and He is in control. Regardless of what he does or does not do in any given day, I can say thank you because I know that He is my father who loves me and he knows what’s best.

Lord help me to thank you more and more, help me to focus on all that you have done, are doing, and will continue to do in my life! Increase my faith that I can rise each day knowing that you have done it all! Thank you Lord, there is none like you!

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Small Hope

The other morning as I was doing a devotional, a couple of verses from Matthew chapter 12 really caught my attention. The thing that stuck out to me, is that the devotion I was reading used a version of the verses that I had not read before, and I really like the way it put it. It said,

He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until He brings full justice with his final victory. And His name will be the hope of the world.” Matthew 12: 11-12

When I read the words “weak” and “smallest hope” they really stuck out to me. Maybe it is because that is how I have felt lately. Weak and like my hope is so small. I thought about the version of the verses above that I was more familiar with, which is a “…a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” Sometimes I feel like my fire is just smoldering, like my hope is so small it is barely there. But as I read those verses, I thought about how Jesus knows me better than anyone and these verses remind us that He will not put out our smoldering fire, He will not drown our small hope. What He will do is rekindle it!! He will bring it back to a full blazing inferno when we cry out to him and give him that little smallest hope.

I think of the man who came to Jesus asking for healing for his child. When Jesus told him all things were possible to him who believed and he cried out:

“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

When our hope seems so small, when we feel like we are nothing more than smoke without a fire, we cry out, Lord, help! We cry Jesus, I need you! We ask for an increased measure of faith. We bring our small hope to the only one who can make it grow! I love how the end of verse 12 says, and His name will be the hope of the world. Our small hope can be a big hope because our hope is Jesus!

This year of Covid has taken much from people, and because of that, many have little hope. But when our hope feels nearly gone, it is then that we need to remember that our hope is not in what goes on around us, it isn’t in a vaccine, it isn’t in the end of the virus, our hope can be found and rekindled in only one place, that is the arms of Jesus. So let’s take our smallest hope to Him, let’s bring our smoldering wick and ask him to do what only He can do, rekindle the fire of hope within us until it burns bright for all to see.

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Empty Halls, Empty Homes

This post has been on my mind for quite some time, but with Christmas upon us it hit even harder. Though I have wanted to write it, I just don’t even know where to begin, or how to put what I feel into words. That seems to be the case more often than not these day.

The thought “empty halls” originally occurred to me months ago. I work in Children’s ministry at my church. We have large children’s wing with a central hall the runs the length of the wing with many different classrooms for different age environments.. Before the virus, on any given Sunday we would have upwards of 230-250 kids spread across 2 services. The hall would always be full of parents and kids, talking laughing, checking out the candy store to spend their points and just a general atmosphere of fun. On a holiday or a special event, which we do several of through out the year, the excitement and the number of kids would be even greater. Since the virus that is no longer the case. Events have been limited or even non-existent because of restrictions and safety issues. The number of kids who now attend at times was maybe 1/3 of what it once was and lately, even less than that.

This past weekend was our Christmas celebration weekend. Normally before the virus, we would have had hundreds of kids in the hall, we would be playing Christmas music and handing out cookies to everyone who walked down the hall.. We used to do this every weekend throughout the month of December, often theming our weekend for different cultures and handing out treats specific to that culture during the holiday season. This year, was so different. The hall was quiet and even though we still had music playing and handed out pre-wrapped candy canes, we only saw around 30 kids across those 2 services. Empty Hall.

I thought about schools as well and how on the day before Christmas break, the halls would be buzzing with excitement of the upcoming holiday, where now, in most schools, the halls are empty and kids are home.

Then my sister made a comment last night that really drove home the “empty” theme for me. My sisters and I video called our mother to give her a gift we had all purchased for her, In the name of safety, we decided the best way to do this was over video. I snuck over to my moms home and left the gift on her porch. We then video called her and told her to go out on her porch and get the gift. She was excited and it was fun, but of course not the same as all being in the same room and watching her open it. Then one of my sister showed us her Christmas Tree over video. She said “here look at my tree because otherwise, nobody is going to see it”. Empty homes.

All across the world, Christmas is here and homes are empty. Empty of family and friends that make this season so special. Empty of laughter that comes when all your family is together and joking about things that are unique to your family, Empty of grandparents and cousins. Empty. In the name of safety and protection, restrictions have been put in place but to what end? The truth is, there is no easy answer and no easy solution. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions, as they have since this horrid virus began almost a year ago. What do we do? Do we get together as family and risk someone getting sick, do we stay home alone and risk depression especially in our older family members who may end up entirely alone? Do we risk not seeing grandparents when there is a chance this is their last Christmas? What do we do? This seems to be the question of the hour. Honestly, I don’ know what the answer is and I am sure it is different for every family.

So what do we do when we don’t know what to do? We pray. We remember where our hope truly lies. We remember that whether we are alone or with family we can have joy and peace because those things are not based on circumstance, they are based on a person, Jesus! We remind ourselves of the hope that Christmas brings, the reminder that God came to live with us, to live for us, to die for us, and to rise from the grave conquering sin and death. We smile knowing that while right now we may not be able to celebrate with family, one day we will celebrate in heaven and the celebration will never end!

I don’t know what your tomorrow looks like, I don’t even know what my tomorrow looks like, but I pray that across the world families are able to be together. That hope will rise out of the darkness that surrounds us this holiday season. My prayer for all us tomorrow and this coin year is this,

“because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Lord in the midst of uncertainty and darkness, shine your light on us and guide out feet to the path of peace. May God bless each of you the Christmas! Merry Christmas!

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Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! It is hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us already! With all the craziness going on in our world, it seems nice to take the time to just reflect and be thankful. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a day to stop and just be grateful and it ushers in the Christmas season.

Over the past few weeks many of my devotionals have reflected on gratitude and being thankful. As I know I have said many times before, November is a month that always leads me to reflect back. It was in November on this day 7 years ago that the course of my life was altered forever. While many hard times have come and gone since then, today, I can reflect back with thankfulness. That probably sounds strange but it is true. Thankful for where I am, for who I am, for what God has blessed me with, and most of all for God, who is sovereign and always knew and still knows what I need.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for coffee/tea with a few of my closest friends. As we sat talking about our lives and our kids I had said, “who would have ever thought I would end up having the job I have”. One of my friends said, “God did! He knew! He knew it was the job for you.” And they are right. God knew, he put me in the perfect job that allows me to be there for my kids as I need to be, do something I love doing and work with people who are family. It led us to remember that even when our kids are struggling, we can trust God to lead them far better than we can and we can rest in His sovereignty.

The other day as I was thinking back on that conversation, I started thinking about my life and those friends. I thought about how God had placed them in my life and the roll they had played in helping me over the past 7 years. One friend, though at the time we had never really even met, opened her home to my kids and I that first Thanksgiving, just 2 days after their dad had left. To this day, we all remember that as one of the best Thanksgivings we’ve had. Another was there the day after my ex-husband served me with divorce papers. She came with me and stood by my side as I had to attend a soccer game he would be at. Over the years they have all prayed for me, encouraged me, sent me flowers on Valentines Day, given me generous gifts just to let me know I am loved. They have laughed with me and cried with me. They have held me accountable and kept me on course when life has gotten crazy and I felt like I would lose my way. God knew I would need these women in my life and I am forever grateful.

This year has been rough for everyone. We have all faced the unexpected. Many have lost more than they can say. It may seem hard to be thankful. But in all that has changed and turned upside-down this year, one thing never changes, God is god and He is sovereign! He cares about every aspect of our lives. He knew about all that would happen in 2020, just has He knows all that will happen every moment of our lives. He gives us what we need even when we don’t know we need it. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in the palm of His hands. Life may seem out of control, but the truth is, it is never in our control and it is never out of His control. Today and every day, that is something we can be thankful for!

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Do We Love Like Jesus?

A few months ago at the start of quarantine, I wrote a post called Maybe This changes Everything. In it I spoke about the good that could come out of having to take a step back and seeing things change in our lives. However, as the months have gone by, what has transpired has seemed to be far more dividing. Yes, of course, there are good stories of people coming together to give away food, to help neighbors and the like. But, on the other hand, there is so much division it is overwhelming. We have people on every extreme, from those who don’t believe Covid is even real to those who are too afraid to walk out of their homes and people everywhere in between. We have people for shut down, people against shut downs, people for schools reopening, people for distance learning, people for vaccines, people against vaccines. And of course one of the biggest fight of all, MASKS! People who think masks should be worn and those who don’t. You hear of many people who insist that their rights are being trampled and it is their right to refuse to wear a mask, and I suppose that is true. It is YOUR right, to choose not to wear a mask, to not stay home etc. But just because something is YOUR right, does that mean that you should insist on it? I think this is a question, that we need to ask ourselves, especially if we profess to be Christians.

I just finished reading the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. If you ever want to be challenged in your life of following Christ, this book will challenge you. There were stories that had me thinking, how do I even call myself a follower of Christ compared to some of these individuals. Stories of those who truly reflect the verses in Hebrews 11 of those who had an amazing faith. Individuals who set aside everything to treat people as Jesus did. Who gave up home, money, food, comforts, and ultimately in many cases their lives, for the sake of the gospel. These people weren’t concerned with what they considered to be their rights, they were concerned with loving like Jesus. As Christians, we are meant to be followers of Christ. Jesus told us in John 15:20, that “...a servant is not greater than his master.” Do we think that our rights are more important than Jesus? Let’s think for just a minute about this. If anyone had rights it was Jesus! The ruler of the universe, whom through, as the Bible tells us, ALL things were created.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16 ESV

Who could at any moment have called legions of angels to his side. (Matthews 26:53)

Jesus, who was given ALL authority on heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18)

Yet he gave up everything to come to earth, born as a helpless baby, to grow up poor, to live the perfect life that we could never live and die the death that we deserved to die. He suffered in ways we can not imagine, including facing the full wrath of God because of OUR sins! Can you even imagine having all of that power at your disposal and choosing not to use it and instead allow yourself to be beaten and broken? To be perfect in every way and yet allow yourself to be treated as a criminal?

He did all this so that through His obedience to the Father, through His life, death, and resurrection, we would be able to be adopted into his family as sons and daughters of God. He gave up everything, never once worrying about what his rights were, so that we as sinful, hateful, human beings, could be saved. And we are worried about wearing a mask? I’m sorry, but do you hear how silly that sounds? Are there times when we need to stand up and fight for our rights, of course. However, those rights should never become more important than living out the commands of Jesus. Jesus tells us that all of the commandments are summed up by this, loving God and loving others. (Matthew 22:37-40). Right now, the most important thing we can do as Christians is love God to the utmost and act on that love by showing that love to others. Wearing a mask, social distancing and the like may not seem important to some people, but it is very important to others. So, if your being inconvenienced by wearing a mask during a church service allows your brother/sister to feel comfortable enough to come to service, shouldn’t you do that? Jesus didn’t say, love your neighbor only when they agree with you and act the way you think they should. Shouldn’t we be understanding of different points of view and respect and help each other rather than allow our differences to divide us? The bottom line is this, regardless of where you stand politically, regardless of what you think about COVID-19, there are brothers and sisters who feel differently and we should be no less loving. Let us live out 1 John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 

I speak to myself with this as much as to anyone else. Let us love as we should, the way Jesus loved, with no thought of our own comfort and desires, but putting our brother first. Let’s put our “rights” aside and live as Jesus calls us to live, in love. We need to love like Jesus loves!

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Growth and Healing

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Like most of us, quarantine has given me a chance to do some of those things that I always say I want to get to but never have the time to actually do.  One of those things was to clean and organize my bedroom.  I am sorry to say that some things in there haven’t been touched in years!  Today I decided to tackle my nightstand.  I started going through some of the stuff on top of it and as I opened one of the drawers to put something away,  I saw a whole stack of cards.  Greeting cards that were addressed to me by my ex-husband.  I had honestly forgotten that they were even there.  As I pulled them out of the drawer, the memory came back to when I put them there.  It was not long after he had left.  We both had always been the sentimental types that kept everything.  We had memory boxes filled with stuff from movie stubs, to cards, to little notes that we had left each other and things the kids had made.  I had gone in the boxes looking for something and found all the cards he had given me.  I took them out and read through them one by one.  I tried to make sense of the difference in the man who had written me such beautiful cards and the one who had just walked out on his family without even a thought.  As I cried more tears than I wanted, I ended up tucking the cards away.  Often after that day, I would take them out and read them and then put them away, but I could never bring myself to get rid of them.

Fast forward years later and I honestly had completely forgotten about the cards.  As I took them out I almost laughed.   I thought about how much those cards had meant to me at one point and how little I cared about them now.  As I walked downstairs to throw them in the recycling, I couldn’t help but pause at how far God has brought me.  I don’t remember when the last time I had looked at those cards was, but I know that there was a time that I would not have been able to let go of them.  God in his mercy knew when the time was right for me to come across them again.  What at one point in time would have brought me to tears, now didn’t move me at all.

I have spoken many times about the steps of healing that God has brought me through.  I have by no means completely healed from the trauma and grief that my kids and I have suffered from abandonment and divorce, but I have come a long way!  I am thankful for the times when God shows me how far He has brought me along this path.  When he brings me up yet another stair, helps me get over another hurdle, and closes up one of the many wounds on my heart.  Growth and healing don’t come easy and they certainly don’t come quickly, but they do come. While I will never experience complete healing from all this in this life, I know that my hope is in something far greater!

“And the King says, “Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes, they’re gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see – I have wiped away every tear from every eye!”  Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones

 

 

 

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Maybe This Changes Everything

As I woke up this morning and looked at the clock, my first instinct was “oh no, I need to get moving.” But, as I became more fully awake, I realized that I had no need to rush, I had no lunches to make, no need to wake my boys up right away, no need to do all the things that I normally need to do to get this family out the door and me off to work each morning.  On normal days, my morning starts at 5:30am and rarely do I really stop going until around 10:30 at night.  Can you say exhaustion?! On normal days, I rush from one thing to the next, from one kid to the next, from my job to their jobs, and the list goes on.. grocery shopping, appointments, go, go, go! Then you get home and it’s cook dinner, do the laundry, help with homework, and get ready to do it all again the next day. Life moves at a pace that we often don’t get to set and we rarely get to change. And somehow in the midst of all that, I am supposed to find time for me.  Time to rest and relax, because the life of a single mom raising 3 teenagers is crazy and can easily drive you to your breaking point.  Believe me, you don’t want to go there…I just came from there and I have no desire to ever go back!

Enter, COVID-19.  Amidst all that craziness, in a matter of moments, all of life came to a halt.  School was closed, professional sports stopped, businesses were shutting down, and most recently, we are all quarantined to our homes.  While that does bring its own anxiety, for me, it almost feels like a much-needed break.  I have seen positives come out of it already, things I would never have imagined.

I have watched as my daughter has started to look up recipes and cook things.  I have been able to take her driving every day when before there was never the time. I have been able to be here for her all day as she is struggling through some very real heartache.

My sons have asked about learning how to do laundry and other things around the house.  They have spent more time reading, more time relaxing, more time watching movies together, and yes, more time on x-box with their friends.  It has given me a new appreciation for their version of socializing with friends, because not only is it the only way they can do that right now, it also made it so the impact felt by them was much less.

People are tuning into online church services more.  Praying more.  Groups are being organized to help those in need.  Communities are coming together.

Yes, I know, there is a whole other side to this.  People losing their jobs (both my kids lost their’s) shortages at the store, people without food,  people being totally alone.  I am not naive about those things, nor am I untouched by them.  However, I am learning that we can do with less than we think we can.  We can make the best of this time, and maybe, just maybe, when things start to go back to normal, we can do things differently.

What if we didn’t rush all the time?  What if when this comes to an end, we still make time for the important things like checking on our neighbor?  What if we spend more time with friends and family? What if we care less about the “almighty” dollar and more about our ALMIGHTY God?  What if we still ate dinner together as a family?  What if sports on TV took a back seat and playing some basketball outside with your kids took over the front seat? What if we went to church and became a member of that community instead of just a bystander? What if companies cared more about their employees’ well-being than they do about their bottom line? What if?

The truth is we CAN make this happen.  We can as a society choose to make changes.  We have been given a great gift in seeing another side of things.  In seeing what we are really missing we can see what is really important.  So maybe, just maybe, things don’t go back the way they were before,  Maybe just maybe, when this is all over we look back on it with eyes of thanksgiving for what it taught us. Maybe this changes everything.

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God Knows What We Need to Hear

Have you ever noticed how God has a way of using even the simplest and smallest things in life to speak to you?  Maybe it is the voice of a small child that says something profound. Maybe it is a line on TV; or maybe,  as is often the case for me, it is a line from a song.  I know last week I had referenced how God had used a song to speak to me about being there with me in the place where he had me.  This morning, He did something similar, but the  strange thing about what happened is that the song was by far not a worship song, it wasn’t even a Christian song, and the words I heard aren’t even the actual words to the song! However, they were  words I needed to hear.

Honestly, I am reluctant to even post the actual song.  Most people are going to think I am crazy, but to me, what happened shows how God is the ruler of this earth and He can and will use unconventional things to speak to us.

Now  before I go any further, I would like to preference this by saying  I know that God speaks to us mainly through His word and anything that doesn’t line up with that is not of God.  Sola Scriptura, (scripture alone).  If you don’t know what that means below is a quote from The Gospel Coalition stating what it meant to church leaders during the reformation and what we hold to today.

“Sola Scriptura meant Scripture was the supreme authority over the church. The Bible ruled reason and tradition because it alone was infallible as God’s word. All other authorities (including church leadership) were fallible and must submit to Scripture”.
The Gospel Coalition

The Bible is the word of God. It is the supreme authority over the church, and in the life of a believer.   All other authorities must submit to scripture.  If it goes against the Bible it is not from God.  I just wanted to make that clear, lest someone think I am off the deep end and telling people to listen to less than wholesome music to hear God speak.

Now, back to this morning’s song.  I was bringing my son to work and he likes to flip through the radio stations. As he was flipping, I caught a brief snippet of a song.  He turned the radio off at that point, I turned it back on to listen to the chorus.  The song was Hemmorage (In My hands), by the band Fuel, I wouldn’t recommend looking it up.  The words I heard start out as the actual words…which are  “don’t fall away”.  Then, it changes. The next words I heard were… leave yourself in My hands again.  Now that is not what the song actually says.  I looked it up as soon as I got home.  But, in that moment in time, that is what I heard, and honestly, that is what I needed to hear.

I have had a lot of dark days as of late, but none as dark as yesterday.  Another cut was made on my heart at the hands of this same situation that has been plaguing me for months.  This one cut deep, too deep.  Deep enough to make me question who I am, question if I am listening to God, question if I am where God wants me to be, question if I am a good mother, question if I even know what I am doing in life.  I pretty much questioned everything in my life EXCEPT God.  I spent the majority of the night crying.  I was truly ready to just give up.  I slept fitfully and in a state of  exhaustion  and depression I was driving my son to work this morning.  That’s when I heard:  don’t fall away, leave yourself in My hands again.

Like most of us, when tough times come, I run to God.  Far too often, I try to  jump out of God’s hands and handle things on my own.  This time I felt more like I was ripped out of God’s hands,  thrown on the ground, and stepped on.  Now of course that isn’t true…the Bible tells us in John 10:28 that we can not be snatched out of God’s hands  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (emphasis mine) but, that is how I felt.  When feelings don’t line up with God’s word, that is when we know they are wrong. I know that God loves me, I know He has his hand in this situation, He has told me that.   Others, who I have gone to for help, leaders who I trust have told me that.   Friends, who I hold myself accountable to have told me that.  Then how did I get from the place of trusting God,  to laying on the floor in a pool of my own tears doubting everything about who I am?  Honestly, I wish I really knew, but all I can say is when we allow hurts to come in and take over,  it gets our eyes off God and that is when trouble comes.  When those hurts bring confusion and deep pain, it can make it hard  to see or think clearly.  It was being in this place that had me make a poor choice earlier this week.  It was this that had me wanting to run away,  to get away from everything to do with this whole situation. It was the hurt and pain that had me feeling like I was going to explode from all the anger that has built up inside of me. It was getting my eyes off God and allowing the exhaustion of the constant battle I have been in to catch up with me like never before.  But, in that place, in that state, out of darkness, through darkness God said, don’t fall away, leave yourself in my hands again.

 

 

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Be Still and Know…

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I know I mentioned in my last post that I had a situation that had been causing turmoil in my family for over 6 months.  I would love to say that the situation is resolved, but the truth is it isn’t and although I am taking steps to try and do what I can on my part, most of the stuff going on is completely out of my control.  It is so hard to watch your children and people you care about be hurt and know that there is really not much that you can do about it.  It is even harder when you are the only parent and the only one they have to go to and often that hurt gets taken out on you.  I have just been tired more than I can say.

So yesterday, as I try to do every Friday during the winter season, I take a couple hours for myself and do one of the things I most enjoy doing and that is go snowboarding. Usually, during the hr or so that I am there, my phone goes off constantly, I try to ignore what I can and just relax and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t but yesterday, yesterday was different.  I was at the mountain for 3 hours.  And in that time, not one text about this current struggle came through.  Not only that, but as I put on my music it seemed like God had a playlist in mind for me to listen to.  I usually have a certain playlist of songs I listen to while I snowboard, but God just seemed to stop it on songs I never listen to snowboarding.  Not only was it one of the most peaceful times I had ever had, but one where I really felt like it was just God and I on the mountain.

One of the songs that came up was “Word of God speak” by Kutless   

There is a line in the song that says ” ...to be still in know, that your in this place….”  It was strange but as I heard those words yesterday, they had a very different meaning to me.  It was like God was saying to me, you know that I am in this place right, not “place” in the sense that I am here with you snowboarding on this mountain, which of course I am but, place as in the hard place I have you in right now, this situation that you are fed up with, this circumstance that you just want to go away…I am in that place.  I am there, I am with you, I know you don’t see it, I know you don’t understand it , I know you can’t feel it, BUT I am here, so be still.

I always said if ever I was to get a tattoo, it would say “…Be Still…” God uses those words to speak to me so very often.  And when I stopped and thought about the verses I had posted prior to this yesterday morning, that phrase was right in there….

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way lo the Lord trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and patiently for him; yourself over the one prospers way, over the man out evil Refrain anger, and forsake Fret yourself; it tends only to For the evildoers shall be off, but those who wait for the ord shall inherit the land. Psalms 37:4-'

God NEVER ceases to amaze me, He never ceases to show up when we take the time to be still before Him and He is there even when we don’t take the time to listen. Now, I wish I could say I saw an end in sight to this situation, I don’t, I wish I could say the rest of my day was peaceful but as soon as I got in the car to leave, there came the texts but I KNOW that God gave me those 3 hours of peace and stillness to connect with Him, to hear from Him , and to be strengthened by Him to keep going and not give up hope.  What an awesome God we serve.  While I know that tough days are still ahead, I know that God is in this place with me and He will act, I just need to trust Him and Be Still!

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Re-fix My Eyes

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As I write this, it probably isn’t going to make much sense.  My mind is a jumble of too many things but, I just feel it is important to write it because I think we all get to the place I am at and knowing that we are not alone can be a bigger help than we think.

Lately my life has felt like nothing but turmoil.  One situation after another has been causing hurt and pain throughout my household.  One particular situation has been ongoing for the past 5 months and has been so stressful at times that I have literally had chest pains.  It has caused dissension in my family and I often feel like I am literally in a war zone.  While many of the things are just the growing pains of 3 teenagers in the house, one of which just graduated and turned 18,   there have also been things that have happened that are hurtful and I have no control over them. I have watched my kids hurt in ways I have never wanted them to hurt and I have watched people I love suffer at hands similar to ones I suffered at. Much of it rekindles anger inside me that I am constantly trying to give to God.  However, raising 3 teenagers on your own often brings the sense of loss, hurt , and pain that you weren’t supposed to have to do this on your own.  Over an over people have prayed for me, people tell me they are worried about me and the truth is at times I worry about myself.

Well yesterday was the day.  Yesterday I reached my breaking point. As a torrent of tears poured over me as I screamed and cried I reached a point where I just couldn’t see past the hurt I was feeling.  I didn’t eat, I didn’t make my kids Valentine’s Day candy, I didn’t want to talk, I just shut myself in my car and then in my room.  I went to bed thoroughly spent.  Every last ounce of energy I had was gone.  I slept  fitfully during the night my body still trying to get rid of the stress that had held it captive throughout the past weeks.  Then morning came…..

Not just  morning as in the next day, morning as in the kind that only God can bring.  Morning as in the sun that comes out after the rain.  Morning as in “...His mercies are new every morning”   Nothing in my circumstances has changed except my view.  What happened yesterday happened because I allowed my eyes to be taken off of the only One who could help.  My eyes were on my circumstances, my problems, and of course the more I focused on those things, the more bad thoughts came until my eyes were so filled with hurt and pain that I couldn’t see the eyes of my savior.  I took on other peoples hurts instead of allowing them to flow through me to the arms of the only One who can carry them.

So as I awoke this morning, God made sure that the verses that awaited me were ones I needed to remember.  He spoke to me and broke through the darkness that had me so ensnared yesterday.

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79

Shadow of death is exactly how I felt.  And His peace was exactly what I needed.

For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20

My situation seems impossible, but God!

“for he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.”  Luke 1:49

God has done amazing things in my life, but somehow in all that pain I forgot, as we all do I suppose when our eyes become transfixed on the trials and troubles of this world rather than on him.

So what do I do,  I take a step back, I get down on my knees and cry out for forgiveness.  I humble myself because I know I can’t do this on my own, I know I am not the one in control of my kids lives, He is!  He is the one who needs to lead, not me.  I ask for forgiveness from my kids, because humbling ourselves and letting our kids know when we are wrong is one of the most important things we can do.  I remind myself of Who God is and I re-fix my my eyes on Him!

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