Thursday, December 31, 2009
I believe I've spent the last year heralding how wonderful 2010 is going to be. I haven't the faintest idea why exactly that I have been so confident about 2010, but I'm marching into 2010 expecting a great many things.
I thought about using this post to look back at 2009, but I want to wait and maybe do that later, though I will look back a little just to reminisce about how amazing 2009 has been. It's been anything but easy, filled with fear and doubt over a move 300 miles from everything familiar, to worry it was a bad decision when 4 months later I still had no job. But I'm ending 2009 annoying all my friends and family by telling them how very happy I am.
I'm not fraught with worry, in fact it's just the opposite, I trust God more than I ever have. My faith was challenged severely this year and somehow God brought me through. And He didn't just bring me through a survivor, but a Victor. A true victor.
But I'm looking at 2010, and I see more challenges ahead that I simply don't know what to do with, so I'm simply letting those worries go and trusting that God will handle those challenges when I reach them. He will be faithful in leading me and guiding me in 2010 just as He was in 2009.
Tonight the church that I've been attending offered a come and go communion service. From 8pm-1am the pastors were there and whatever time you wanted all you had to do was just show up and take communion. So at 10:30pm I found myself standing there holding the bread and wine and feeling as though I was a soldier being sent off. (Yeah, soldiers, I know, there's a big difference, but you get the idea.) I feel as though 2010 is going to be so very important for me that being there tonight; giving myself back to God through communion and remembering His sacrifice and honoring it seemed vital.
My heart has been slowly turning towards ministry in the last month. I suppose in a way I've always been in ministry, whether playing the piano for my church or teaching a Sunday school class or whatnot. But in the last month, and especially tonight, my heart seemed to be veering towards evangelism more than ever before. That God would use my life as a witness for His glory. That He would make me a light that is not hid under a bushel by my fears or doubts concerning what to say or do. I began to pray that He would teach me how to witness to others of His glory. Because I haven't the faintest idea how to actually begin those discussions.
The pastors at church ended the small communion with a special "into the new year blessing for me" and as they prayed over me, and even in their talking to me before and after they just kept mentioning how God was going to bless me, and that God saw what I was doing (like attending communion services when I should be in bed asleep) and that He honors things like that and would see my heart and bless it.
It's lovely words, and I don't doubt for a moment that God loves me so much and will continue to bless me as He has this 2009 even if no one asked Him toon my behalf. But something about 2010 has arrested my thoughts concerning my own blessing. And I believe that He's outlining a plan in 2010 where I will become a blessing. I don't know how, or where, or what, but I truly believe I God is leading me into a year of being a blessing to HIM.
That's why tonights communion felt so vital. I needed to give my life back to Him tonight for His use in 2010.
Like I said, I don't have any explanation as to why I feel so strongly about 2010, but I'm very sober concerning the challenges and the growing that I believe will be taking place this coming year. I love Him so much now, He's so worthy of so much more than someone like me has to offer. But He still has plans for me, and I am ready to walk in them.
May your 2010 be blessed beyond abundance, and may you find hope, peace, and joy you have never imagined. May the love of God reign in you and multiply to scatter across your communities, your city, your county, your street. And may you find rest in releasing your hesitation and embracing His resolve.
God bless you. And happy New Year.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Another guy chimed in that he would do that, except he didn't like his dad. If it were just his mom and him, he'd think about doing that too.
Another lady announced that if she could afford to, she would never make her kids work and would be willing to let them just live with her for however long they wanted, never forcing them to have to work.
Time was getting close, so I took that opportunity to gather my things and go back to work lest I say something that would completely change the atmosphere of the table.
Something along the lines of - "I'm so sorry your parents don't really love you, and I'm sorry you don't love your kids."
Yeah, so you see why I walked away.
And sure, while I walked away I thought with gratitude concerning my parents requirement of chores and teaching me the value of hard work and money.
But it wasn't until later that I realized that the same thing applies to God as well. My growth hasn't just come without any type of cost. I have been allowed to struggle, and fight, and doubt, and yell, draw wrong conclusions, learn right conclusions, be wrong, lose friends, gain bad friends, be hurt.
It's easy to hope that love treats you well. Makes things nice for you. But too often - in our false ideas of what love is - we expect things to always be nice, to feel good, to be pleasant. We want it to be easy. We expect love to make things easy.
And despite my constant whining and crying over the issue...I'm so thankful that God loves me enough to let me struggle. To grow me, no matter how hard it is to teach me certain lessons. I'm so thankful for all the doubts, and all the fears that drove me to places with God I wouldn't have found otherwise.
I'm thankful that He loves me - every bit perfectly. Not afraid to do the hard things to me no matter how angry I get or how many times I hate Him for it. He's willing to let me walk away for a time, to let me be distant.
If I feel bad when a customer I don't even know gets frustrated with me - how great a love does He have for me that He's willing to do absolutely whatever it takes. I'm constantly amazed by His love. And through it, I see what love really should be. And I see how selfish love is the one that never challenges.
Fair warning to foster children everywhere - if you get stuck with me I'm going to truly love you as best as I can. Niece, Nephew - I'm going to truly love you the best that I can. And you may not enjoy it. But you'll be better people because of it.
Love someone today. Just don't expect people to appreciate it right away. :)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Without my laptop I was chained to the desktop in a room that is ranging about 50 degrees right now I imagine, not counting the windchill factor of the kids running by. It's amazing how fast you can type a post when you know you only have a certain amount of time before you freeze in place. It is unsettling just how many errors made it into those posts because my fingers were becoming frostbitten. :) Nevertheless, for as long as I've got it, I'm so thankful to have Old Trusty back!
Now for the post. Unfortunately after that good news the tone of this post is going to change dramatically for me. It's one of those posts that is difficult to write because it requires just a little more honesty than I'd like to get into. But, I know just from watching search engine trails leading to my blog how necessary posts like this are. I believe the second most searched post is "For every lie there is a truth." Knowledge of how many others face the same problems I face forces me to be honest in ways I'd rather not.
So bear with me, and keep in mind that I'm only human eh?
I want to preface this with how wonderful things are with me and God right now. (Though it seems odd to phrase it that way.) I've never felt so close, so sure, so free and happy in Him in my life.
But recently the devil made an appearance and out of nowhere, he informed me that a friend of mine only likes me for my money. It's a friend that I really haven't had much contact with lately - and I just happen to have recently stopped giving them money.
The accusation was obviously a lie. I know it, I know it, I know it. Down to my very core I know it. But - man I hate having to say "but" there! But instead of just saying it was a lie and moving on, I played with it. I toyed with the idea, overly defending against it, and pushing it around in my head rather than just sending it on it's way.
I think, in a way that perhaps sometimes I want to be a victim. When circumstances can't be explained, when friendships taper off I want to be able to say some reason that it wasn't good anyway. I want to be able to blame something, someone, rather than just accepting that sometimes things change, re-imagine themselves, evolve into something else entirely. It's easier to say God let me down, my friend let me down, my family let me down. It allows me accept broken things, distant things, deterioration and and mediocre relationships/situations. It allows me to not hope for better, not try for change, not believe there not only should be more, but could be more. It's almost comfortable in a miserable kind of way.
It allows you to settle for less.
And I'm done settling.
So to get past that, I have to simply shove that lie exactly where it belongs and quit playing with it. I have to demand, yes demand better of myself than this. And it's easy to shrug it off and pretend it isn't important but it most definitely is. It's wonderfully important. It's one more way to grow and change. To pursue righteousness and a holy, blameless life. To create lasting, genuine relationship based on trust and truth and love for Christ - as opposed to the flimsy ones subject to lies and insecurity.
I started off this subject telling how wonderful I was finding my walk with God right now, because I want you to know that these things don't just hit you when you're down and struggling. They hit you when you're at your most faithful and most trusting. In my life I know I'm likely to ignore little things like that when I feel like I'm doing well. I tell myself not to nitpick and to simply do my best. But I don't want there to be a time, whether when things are good, or difficult, that I'm not still trying to grow.
So don't listen to those lies. Ever. And don't focus on avoiding those lies either; when the devil steps in with a lie never go on the defense by fighting the lie. Simply speak the truth. I know my friend is my friend and it doesn't have one lick to do with money. The very idea is absurd. I'm so blessed to have a friend like mine, and God brought my friend into my life to teach me about friendship and trust. And whatever it is the devil is lying to you about - you know that voice, it's the dark one that leaves you filled with shame, fear, guilt, doubt, distrust, loneliness - stomp those words into the dirt where they belong and remind yourself of the Truth. God loves you.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I just, apparently, can't get past how much I enjoy the song. But while I love the verses, the chorus is what always rings in my heart.
So often we ask that question when negative circumstances come our way. Why me? Why do I have cancer? Why me? Why does MY mom have to have alzheimers? Why me? Why does my car have a flat?
From big things to little things whenever something goes wrong we tend to immediately think "WHY ME?"
It's reasonable, and even a good question to ask when it comes to bad circumstances.
But rarely, do you hear someone encountering good circumstances and wondering "Why me?"
Why did I win a million dollars? Why did I narrowly avoid that car wreck? Why did get that job when so many others were hunting?
I ate dinner with someone the other night, and as they bowed their head to bless the food for us they reminded God of His many promises to us and prayed He'd be faithful.
And while it's nothing, and it certainly doesn't say anything about the person because obviously we all have different thoughts and methods and not one certain prayer or omission means something. But as we lifted our heads I realized he'd forgot to thank God for the food.
Everyone is certainly different, but I'm broke and certainly can't afford nice expensive food like say.. well, anything beyond ground beef. ;) But this particular meal had been provided for me free of charge, all I had to do was sit down and do the taking. So as I lifted my head I couldn't help but whisper a profound "thank You" that this was one more meal I wouldn't have to wonder where it would come from.
It's crazy how skewed my perception is sometimes though, as I drove home tonight I realized that I pray God keeps His promises to me to keep me in my house (a lovely 2 story, 4bd, 2ba home with 2 accessory rooms we don't even use hardly) while there are people in such dire conditions that for my idea of "struggling" to be that I have to give up lavish conditions to live in a less lavish home - to me it means I need to change my ideas of what God supposedly "owes" me as a fulfillment of promise.
I don't want to spend my life asking why things aren't better for myself. I want to spend it asking why on earth He'd be so good to me. Why would He love me so? Why would He provide so much for me, when so many others are hungry, cold, lonely. Why me Lord? Why am I so blessed? I just can't thank You enough.
It's hard to have that attitude every day though, it's hard to not ask why things don't go better, or why things aren't moving directions you thought they would sometimes. But God has a plan, and He's got my life in His hands. And, whether I believe it all the time or not, I'm blessed beyond measure.
Why me indeed.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Why him? With all the rulers in the world?
Why here? Inside this stable filled with hay?
Why her? She's just an ordinary girl?
And now I'm not one to second guess, what angels have to say...
But this is such a strange way to save the world.
A Strange way to save the World - 4Him
There's another reason that I love that song besides what I wrote about yesterday.
I absolutely love that God uses the simple, the small, the ordinary, the stables, the barns. Too often I imagine that I need to wait until I'm rich, important, till I've reached a certain status with a group of people, till I've gained a role of leadership within my church, till I've reached the place where I don't doubt and struggle and worry.
But God uses the beat up, worn, weary, broken and reassembled, the inferior, the looked down on, the simple, the seemingly powerless and useless. And He uses them to accomplish the most incredible things that God needs accomplished on this earth sometimes.
Not that God doesn't use the rich and powerful... but too often I let what I lack keep me from being used. I let it keep me from dreaming the big dreams God puts in my heart. I let it keep me from hoping and loving, and believing, and expecting change.
But no, God uses simple things. Simple people like me are a part of His plans for the world. However great or small that plan might be. Why me Lord? I'm just an ordinary girl.
But like Joseph in the song, I need to not second guess how God chooses to do things. But sit back and revel and wonder at what a strange way He's using to save the world.
Through me. Through ordinary me and ordinary you.
Not that I'm getting a big head about the whole idea... all this means is that I'm just no better or worse than a donkey. :)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
As I'm sure your week was, mine was quite busy. And wonderful. I hope you received more than your heart could even desire this Christmas - I know I did. I might even get more than I expect because my dad gave me a gift of a bright red jacket which he expects will help me attract a husband. (Some long story about birds attracting each other with colors and how I don't dress colorfully enough.) I'm laughing about it, but I've got to tell you, that jacket worries me a bit. :)
This entire Christmas season though, I've listened earnestly to my Christian radio station waiting to hear my favorite Christmas song come on. I'm sure you've heard it - "A strange way to save the world." by 4Him. I'll put the video at the end of this post so you can hear the song as well.
The song has really struck home with me these last few weeks because of the constant problems we've faced living in San Antonio. As you listen to the story of Jesus' birth though it's absolutely riddled with far worse problems.
Mary's pregnant and technically not married yet.
Her husband-to-be considers putting her away (to break the marriage agreement)
Caesar suddenly demands everyone partake in a census.
Mary and Joseph have to travel a long distance, with her apparently quite far along in the pregnancy.
They get there, and sure enough in the middle of nowhere, Mary goes into labor.
They need a place to stay and there are no motels - and wind up having to stay in a barn.
Imagine, if you were called by God to have a baby - wouldn't you begin to wonder while you're sitting in the stable surrounded by cows and ... uh... wonderful aromas... if maybe this was all just a crazy dream? Surely this isn't what we thought it was... it's unbelievable enough that we would be birthing the Savior of the world for cryin' out loud but obviously things just aren't working out. Surely something would be going right if this were actually such a special birth. Right?
But no, the baby is born and then when as a father or mother who has just birthed someone called "Mighty God, Prince of Peace", they are told not to go home because Caesar is going to kill their baby.
Would that make sense to you?
None of it makes sense, unless you just bow your head and say "I'm doing whatever you ask of me Lord, no matter what happens and how it works out. And you simply stop requiring things to look picture perfect in order to be of God.
Too often we do exactly that though - God calls us to the mission field but we have difficulty raising the money or miss our flight and we suddenly doubt whether God really initiated all this to begin with. We never say it, but I know all too often I act as though Gods road obviously must be free of potholes. We say we expect problems following God, but the minute we find one we begin to doubt if our road was really Gods path.
I know I entered into San Antonio with a boatload of doubts - but it was the very best thing I have ever done for myself in my entire life. And yet every single day we struggle with finances to the point we worry about eviction, utilities being cut off, possession being taken away... for my family that moved here with me, I wonder often if they don't see this as just one big nightmare. Meanwhile I'm sloshing around on cloud 9. Problems and all, I see my road, and it's as clearly the road God has for me as the fact that I was to be a foster parent.
I can't tell you about your road - but this one thing I know, I'm more confident than I have ever been in my entire life that God will see me through the pot holes. It doesn't mean we won't eventually end up evicted, or spend a few days without electricity or something, but He will be there through it all.
No question about it. No doubt about it.
He's here. And I've never had more troubles, and been happier in my life.
What a wonderful life.
Listen to my favorite song - I hope you enjoy!
A strange way to save the world
Sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
'Cause never in a million lives
Would he had dreamed of Bethlehem
And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said...
Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade
Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl
Now I'm not one to second guess
what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the world
To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth
But Joseph knew the reason
Love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought...
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I go back to the kitchen. Rebecca is stirring the dough having added the flour, the baking powder, the eggs and the vanilla. Tears cruise down her face. I take the wooden spoon and bowl from her and stir. (No need to put the dough in jeopardy.) "Sit down."
Miraculously, she obeys me, blows her nose on a napkin. "I'm sorry. It's just that everything comes easy for you. Everyone likes you, you have a purpose here that is important and even Matthew respects you."
I look around to pinpoint the person to whom she is referring.
from "Everythings coming up Josey"
If you told me you went jogging this morning - I would give you the look. It's that special look that says you apparently do these things because God created you capable of doing these things and He did not create me with such capabilities.
I never imagined being on the receiving end of those looks. But since I've moved to San Antonio I've seen them more and more often as I sit at lunch dutifully eating my snack size broccoli 'n cheese and responding that yes I have been working out lately.
A lady next to me at work said she needed to exercise too, so I suggested she start with doing one crunch. One crunch. And she looked at me like I'd lost my mind. She told me she was a mother so she didn't have time for that.
I know every time I saw the commercials inbetween my favorite episodes of NCIS, those thin ladies showing how they'd lost weight always made me roll my eyes. Obviously they lost weight because they're them. I'm me. It doesn't work that way for me.
Until I became - no, not a thin person - but one that was losing weight. And I realized that all those ladies did was decide they were going to do something and then stick to it.
And before you click away, this post isn't really about weight loss.
Because you see, I've met a lot of talented people in my life. I've read books from people that I could only sit and drool over the idea that I might have as close a walk with God, that God might talk to me like He does with them. I listen to people talk about reading the Bible certain numbers of times and how many verses they've got memorized and again... here I go rolling my eyes. They do that because they're them. I'm me. It just doesn't work that way for me.
But just the same as weight loss, or anything else - if you decide it's something you really want and you go after it - typically you find it. I can't change my weight, obviously, but I can change my eating habits, and exercise habits.
I can't change my walk with God but I can change my prayer habits, and my reading habits.
God always takes care of the rest.
It's easier not to try; to announce I'm too old, too young, too busy, not strong enough, too poor, too shy, too sinful, too __________. Then you don't have to worry about failing.
But if I listened to the devils lies about what I am, or what I'm not and let that keep me from trying then I'd be 50 lbs heavier living in Gainesville, Tx close to my family where life was "safe". I would probably still be sitting on the floor of my two bedroom rental accepting the fact that God was for other people, but not for me.
But a lot has changed in nearly 8 years. The biggest change is that I know nothing, nothing is impossible or simply meant for other people.
So next time you roll your eyes at that other person that has achieved something you wish you could - let me tell you something. It didn't happen to that other person by magic. It happened with a lot of hard work, sweat, frustration, feeling not up to the challenge, and saying "No" to themselves when they wanted to say a wholehearted "YES!" They're not special. They're just determined.
In just a couple of weeks we're going to come to a new year and a lot of people are going to make resolutions about what kind of person they want to be in 2010. So when you make your list this year, and when I make mine I hope we both remember this post. New Years resolutions aren't about what you'd like some magical fairy to transform you into. They're about changes you're willing to implement in your life.
Don't ever let the devil win. Cause let me tell you, 50 lbs lighter, in San Antonio, walking with God closer than I ever have before.... well,.... it feels pretty amazing.
As I read "The Measure of a Godly Man" this morning though I couldn't find one reason why his meaningful definitions couldn't apply to myself and I wanted to share it with you.
Here's the top snippet, but click here for the full article.
"Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness" (Titus 2:2, English Standard Version).
For many years, I ignored this verse. After all, I was not an older man. It simply did not apply to me. Then, a rather obvious thought occurred to me: I'm getting older every day. I need to get ready. God wants to see these qualities developing within me.
God wants me to be sober-minded. He wants me to see my life, my circumstances, and my opportunities clearly. He wants me to have the humility to know my weaknesses and the honesty to know my strengths.
Again, CLICK HERE for the rest of the article as he goes through the rest of the words and defines them.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
And for the record, I mean "plodding along" in the most magnificent sense of the word. :)
A month or so ago someone quoted me a verse - Psalms 18:29&30
For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
And for some reason that chapter has been on my mind ever sense. And a couple of nights ago, God woke me up in the middle of the night and told me to read Psalms 18:24-34
I don't know why God works that way with me, constantly giving me references to go look up. I wish He would just say it - because I always walk over to my Bible with a weak little heart just waiting to read something along the lines of "THINE OFFERINGS HAVE BEEN REJECTED BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF THINE HEART"... or something along those encouraging lines. Truly. But instead, I opened it to find these words:
Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.
For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
And that's the point that I always assume that obviously it was some other voice in my head that told me to look that up, because surely God would have given me one with condemnation.
No matter how untrue those thoughts are, they always seem to be there, camped out in the corner of my mind. God isn't going to tell me how great I am, cause look at me? Mother Theresa I am not. I'm not good enough. Never seem to get my act together enough TO be good enough. Why on earth would God say good things to me?And here's the hard to swallow answer. "Because He loves me."
This morning, something unusual happened and it could possibly be that something really nice is about to happen. As I drove to work, I was telling God about my guesses and assumptions about the good thing that might happen and I told Him that I just didn't deserve Him to love me so much. He's been too good. Sure I've struggled, sure things haven't been perfect, but that's not what I'm in it for. And all I could see is how wonderful He's been through it all.
While I told Him how much I didn't deserve it, I suddenly started listing my faults in my walk. I reached one point where, while rattling off my list of failures, I said "I don't even tell others how great You are as much as I should" and instantly - it's almost as though He was just waiting for me to say it - He shot back "You used to". My first reaction was "when on earth did I 'used to'"? And He immediately brought to mind this blog.
I've got to tell you, writer extraordinaire I am not. By my iffy counts I might have 27 readers. Not that you 27 aren't important...but since you have no names and are mostly ip address numbers it's easy for me to not assume you're waiting for my next post, wishing "This Walk" would start posting again.
But it doesn't matter if there are 27 or 2700 or 2, for some reason God's given me this blog and 5 years running I've held onto it because God has given me a passion for writing about Him this way. But while I may have discounted this blog as not a witnessing tool, or not a valid way to share my beliefs and faith and love of Christ with others - I'm a little freaked out that God hasn't discounted it.
So all that to say, God is good, God works, God speaks, God talks to us. He loves us. And since God seems to be holding me responsible for my blogging I'm going to do it as unto the Lord. So you should be seeing posts again even if I'm confused, befuddled and overwhelmed. :)
I'm thankful for His love and His mercy. His goodness and His grace.
For He's more wonderful than my mind can concieve
He's more wonderful than my heart can believe
He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams.
He's everything that my soul ever longed for
Everything He's promised and so much more
More than amazing, more than marvelous
More than miraculous could ever be
He's more than wonderful, that's what Jesus is to me.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
With all that is happening here my mind is too full... there's so much to sort out that real sentences don't make it out. Certainly not a whole post.
Even now as I wrote that, I began to wonder if I write simply because I think I know the answers. Or if I simply understand the situation so well that I know precisely what I'm asking God when I still have questions.
So maybe that's why I don't know how to write now.
I don't have answers. And I don't know what I'd ask if I stopped to question.
Obviously, that wouldn't make a very good post!
So just you wait. God's gonna see this though.
And I'm going to be a better person because of it.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
In my life I've always struggled with feeling loved.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.
I don't believe it when I'm told, and only lately have I come to accept a history of actions as proof. But I certainly don't rely on it, trusting it to hold onto a friendship or a relationship during the hard times.
I've seen enough of the world to know how easily people give up on other people. A lady I'm working with right now struggling with her marriage recently shoved aside encouragement that "It would get better", saying "I don't want it to get better, I want it to get over." 3 years of marriage. 3 years of "I love you's". 3 years of taking care of their children.
I've seen that example played out in a hundred different scenarios all through my 28 years of life - probably too young to feel jaded about love I suppose - but I am.
That's why when I really met Jesus, I worked hard to not be discarded. I tried to be perfect because not being perfect might mean He gives up on me. I wouldn't believe for a minute that He would give up on you - no, He'd never do that! but I knew me, and I knew people didn't love me, I was the exception to the rule. Ironic, isn't it, how we all convince ourselves that good things apply to everyone else but ourselves, we alone are always the exception to the rule. Even more befuddling is how even when other people tell us they feel the same way, we assume they're just wrong. The bad things don't apply to them, but us, yes, we certainly are the exception to the rule.
Now, I wonder how much God enjoyed watching me fail. Not for the perverse pleasure of it but because He couldn't wait to prove that He was still there. Not giving up. Not changing. Still as invested in seeing His work completed in me, and intent, fearfully and wonderfully intent on seeing the strange and awkward scars my clay had developed over time be smoothed away.
I'm no poster child for good spiritual, or emotional health. Perhaps not even mental health since Alzheimers does seem to run in the family genes... but while I've been sitting in this awkward place with God, wondering what He's doing and what's happening to me, in me, I've constantly been amazed at one thing and I just want to share it again.
God loves you.
Even saying it right now, tears are running down my face because it's just........so...........true. He loves you.
He loves me.
He loves me.
It's the best kind of love. The best relationship. The best friend.
I can be a complete jerk, the worst emotional basketcase, and a self-centered thoughtless bum - and He still loves me. It's not about being perfect. It's just being loved. Regardless of what I do. That love was there even when I rejected it. When I stood afar off from God and said "Here's how I believe God is," He loved me with an everlasting love.
When I said "I quit God" and waited on Him to stop loving me - He remained unchanging and loved me still with an everlasting love until I had no choice, it literally wasn't in me to be able to do anything else but humbly come back to God with gratitude.
....Even recently when I felt He disappointed me, He had a lesson for me in it that I should have learned long before now. I love Him all the more for that disappointment and His persistent and often inconvenient lessons.
He loves me. And, while I still have issues come up sometimes, for the most part I have finally - finally - simply begun to respond to that GREAT love. I've begun to trust in it. To believe that He holds onto me when I can't seem to hold onto Him. That He'll love me even when I've done wrong - but He certainly tells me to fix it pronto.
So for all that - it's taken quite awhile to figure out how to say all this so far - I guess I just want to say something to you.
I don't know what situations you specifically are facing. But this I know, God loves you so much. And when you finally get that realization, you will be so relieved. The burden, the fear, the doubt, the distrust; it rolls away into a tiny speck that only pops up every once in awhile to irritate situations. Sometimes, as you understand it better - it won't even be able to irritate you.
He won't give up on you. If He is drawing you, speaking to your heart then know this - He has chosen you. YOU. Specifically you. Sure He's got the whole world on His mind, but He's also got YOU specifically there as well. Trust in Him. Trust His love whenever you find yourself in a situation that's beyond you. God's in the middle of your troubles just as He's in the middle of your celebrations. Give your situations into His hand and trust Him. Give your issues into His hand; the hurt, grief, scars, distrust, anger, fear, guilt - whatever it is - simply tell God all about it. At the top of your lungs if necessary. He's strong enough to take it.
I know me, remember? I know I'm the exception to the rule. If you ever really got to know me surely you'd understand that I wasn't worth the trouble and just... wander off... But even I, can somehow be loved by God so strongly, so patiently, so determinedly, that I, the exception to the rule, believe that God loves me.
And if He can love me He most definitely loves you.
Lean on it.
GO for everything.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I haven't been writing because I find myself not knowing what to say. So many sentences begin in my head whether I'm writing or simply talking to God and the words end up just dropping off vaguely unsure of what I'm really trying to say. It's very quiet.
I'm so glad for Gods love. He's given me the best relationship a person could ask for and I can't tell you how secure I feel in knowing that He loves me - flaws and all - and yet how patiently and determinedly He's working on those flaws. Other people might cease to love you, or fail you, or simply never be able to love you with a perfect love that puts yourself aside and puts others first. But God will. Always.
Because of that, I don't want to fail Him in this that He's working in me.