Faith

Embrace Suffering, Embrace God

Suffering is a feeling we don't welcome into our lives very well. Just hearing the word can send shivers down your spine. At least for me it does. Isn't it crazy that the very thing we do not want in our lives, is the very thing that brings us closest to God? 

I learned a long time ago to embrace suffering. No, it isn't welcomed in my world either. Like most people, I despise the feeling of heartbreak and emptiness. I loathe the thought of feeling like my soul is lost in the depth of sorrow and grief. As much as I dislike suffering, I embrace it because suffering pulls me into my Father's arms more powerful than I can even begin to try and understand. 

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2

I embrace it because God is in the midst of all the chaos when my spirit feels shaken, when my world feels turned upside down. He is there. I feel Him. I seek Him. I embrace Him. When we learn to embrace suffering, we begin to embrace more of Him into our space. We allow Him to come in and fill the empty places with His love and peace. In those moments of feeling completely lost and unsure, He is there. 

I remember days where I would wake up completely unsure of what the future would hold. Miscarriage hurt my heart, took away a piece of our family. Even though I carry our baby in my heart, the truth of the matter is that he is not here physically with us. He isn't sharing in the joys of life. He didn't get to move to the Pacific Northwest with us and experience the beauty of nature and a different part of the world. That thought haunts me from time to time, but then God. God steps in, holds my hand and loves me. When suffering starts to creep back in, I embrace God. I lean into Him and remember whose I am. 

Suffering is not the greatest thing in life, I agree. But, when we are called to suffer and grieve, we are called to embrace a God who will never leave us. We are the closest to our Heavenly Father than we will ever be when our grief meets suffering. So, as you cry and miss your child today, embrace Him. He is near you. 

FB_IMG_1530197413371_1530315527261.jpg

He Holds My Head Up High

A few days ago I got my reminder in the mail for my one year mammogram.  I can’t begin to tell you the different emotions that went through me as I read this letter.

August 15, 2016 was a HUGE day for me.  I had been having so many health issues due to an ovarian cyst that ruptured on July 5, 2016.  July 5th started my journey of different doctor’s offices and tests that would bring me to a place of hopelessness and depression.  During those weeks, my doctor found a mass on my left breast.  After this finding, she made an appointment for a sonogram on my breast.  The morning of the sonogram, my husband and I quietly got dressed.  I was filled with so much anxiety and fear.  I felt sick to my stomach and had so many questions going on in my head.  How would this effect our lives?  Would my husband be okay?  How would I tell my mom?  How could we afford cancer?  What would this mean for our dreams, family and finances?  So many different scenarios played on in my mind!  It was such a scary morning.  The drive there was quiet as well as we were both lost in our own thoughts and emotions.  My loving husband held my hand the whole time and kept gently telling me that we would be okay but I could see the fear in his eyes as well.  It was a morning of uncertainty but I knew he was right, we would be okay.  No matter what the outcome, we would be okay.

I remember feeling so much anxiety as we sat in the room waiting for results.  My stomach was in knots and my eyes kept filling with tears holding on for dear life.  My heart ached at the thought of that kind of heart wrenching illness to touch our lives.  When she finally came back to the room, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I couldn’t believe my ears when she said, “We didn’t see anything.  We could see some scarring of where a cyst possibly was but thankfully, you are good!  We just need to keep an eye out from now on and will need to see you yearly.”  What a relief!  I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe again.

I think about that day today and it reminds me of how faithful God is.  Last year was a season of loss, pain, sickness and exhaustion.  August 15, 2016 was the day we started to slowly see things coming back together.  We started to see Him rebuild and restore our hearts and lives.  I felt closer to Him more than ever.  Last year was both the worst and greatest year of my life.  It was filled with valleys and hardships while at the same time filled with His love and glory.  I wouldn’t change any of it for anything!  It was a year of bringing a husband and wife closer than ever and a year that brought us to our knees in both surrender and praise!

Tomorrow I will call to set up my yearly exam and as I do this, I will be reminded of the day that God placed hope back into my life.

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3

If you are going through a season of confusion, sadness or heartache please remember that He is with you.  Even if it feels like He isn’t, I promise you that He is!  He has you in the palm of His hand watching over you.  Be patient, hold on, lean into Him and allow Him to lift your head high.

God Searches For His Sheep

Ezekiel y'all!! I dove into Ezekiel 34 this morning and I'm so thankful that the Lord led me to this wonderful book. One of the things that has grieved my heart the past few months is the world today. And not just the world outside of Christ but the world of Christianity as well. The Bible warns us of the false teachers that surround us and it's been something that has hurt my heart more than words can even describe.

I worked at a church full time and once a week had the amazing honor of being Pastor on call, so I know first hand that there are so many hurting and hungry people out there searching for hope and searching for answers. With such an enormous amount of lost hurting people, I'm realistic and wise enough to know that this means easy prey for lots of predators. The devil knew that this would be the case and while God is raising up legit leaders, the enemy is raising up false teachers.

So as I've studied false teachers and signs to be aware of over the past few months, I have asked God many hard questions. I knew when He was ready and when I was ready to receive the answers, that He would answer. Don't you just LOVE HIS LOVE!? This morning, I received that comfort and peace I had been searching for in my studying of false teachers. Ezekiel 34 happened to me this morning and my heart couldn't be more at peace.

Ezekiel 34 teaches us that there is so much hope for those who have been led astray by false teachers. It reminded me and gave me hope that He has taken care of these details that sometimes get overlooked. Leaders are like shepherds to God and I know that the same God who rescued then is the same God who will rescue now. He sees the shepherds now who are misleading like He saw them in the past. "This is what the Lord God says: I am against the shepherds. I will blame them for what has happened to my sheep and will not let them tend the flock anymore. Then the shepherds will stop feeding themselves, and I will take my flock from their mouths and so they will no longer be their food." Ezekiel 34:10

My questions to God have been questions about the innocent ones. "What about the ones who are hungry and lost but know no better?" He answers that for me in Ezekiel 34:11-12, "This is what the Lord God says: I, myself, will search for my sheep and take care of them. As a shepherd takes care of his scattered flock when it is found, I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day." Of course He is going to take care of the innocent and of course He is going to hand pick His children from the grips of evil before it's too late. Thank You Jesus for loving your people the way you do! Thank you for giving my heart peace in a world of false teachers preying on lost souls.

As Darin and I continue our journey in a new state, I know that God is protecting us from false teachers. I have been so timid in the new search for a new church that the process has been a slow movement. But that's OK. After reading Ezekiel, I no longer feel rushed to look nor do I feel fear to look. I know He will guide us, protect us and (if needed) rescue us!!!

His Faith In Us

Have you ever battled with your faith? Have you ever had one of those seasons where things just cannot seem to fall into place? You can’t seem to make anybody happy? You can’t seem to get the bills paid on time? You can’t seem to keep from making your significant other upset? You can’t do anything right at work? The list can go on and on of things that can go wrong all at the same time in the same moment. 

Life has taught me that things in life are never consistent. Relationships, finances, work load, and even at times our hope is not consistent. Faith teaches me that the one thing that is consistent is God’s love. His love is everlasting. He is faithful to us even when we are not so faithful to Him. He stands by our side even when we are pushing Him away. He hears our hopes and thoughts even when we are not praying. 

I have had moments in life where I literally felt drained of all hope. I wasn’t even sure if I could put my hands together to pray but then God reaches in and puts my hands together for me. He gets me out of the pits of hell when I’m not sure how I even got there. I have had moments where life overcomes me and overcomes my ability to believe but then there He is to remind me, Believe! 

Faith is sometimes a battle. Sometimes it is so hard to have faith that there really is a better tomorrow. Can you imagine what life would be like if we had the faith in God that He has in us? God’s faith in us is so remarkable. He believes in us more than anybody ever will. He knows we can change lives. He knows we can get that promotion at work. He knows we can get that degree, write that book, or get that job. He knows we can be who we want to be through Him. He doesn’t give up on us. He knows what He created us for and He knows we are capable! 

Sometimes it might seem easier to just give up and stop having faith but doing that will be more painful and a lot harder. God’s love is everlasting and His faith in us is phenomenal. Just remember the next time your faith seems to have disappeared that God’s faith in us isn’t going anywhere. Maybe everybody in the world has given up on you and you have given up on yourself but He hasn’t. 

His love and faith endures forever.

God's Wisdom Supersedes All Human Wisdom

Lately I have really had to put my faith out there. I have had so many ups and downs over the last few months, that emotions have left me at a loss.I have made some pretty drastic moves in life, literally, moves. Darin and I moved cross country from Texas to Washington. We made the leap of faith and obeyed Him. 

In all of life's ups and downs over the last year, I have held strong to His wisdom. I can't see what He can. Only He knows why He has allowed things to happen in life. He is such a great God! I don't always understand the whys or the hows and I don't know why certain things happen but I know He is a God of comfort and peace. 

I have asked myself over the past few days why there is such evil in the world. Why would God allow such evilness but then I remember that we live in Satan's play ground. My heart aches for people hurting in the world. I don't know why things are allowed to happen but I do know that we have to trust Him. We have to take tragedies and allow them to change our hearts. Take the time to cherish our loved ones and for parents to step up and love your children. We have to understand that there is evil in this world and we have choices. 

"A hot furnace tests silver and gold, but the Lord tests hearts." Proverbs 17:3

God was taken out of most of our schools years ago. Why? It amazes me that people do not see how this world is falling into Satan's hands more and more and that if we don't get a grip and allow Him back into our schools, jobs, lives.....then it will only get worse! How can we expect Him to protect us and protect our children if we are not allowing Him to? God is a gentleman and He will not force Himself on us. We must ask Him to come in. 

Trust Him today. Trust Him to guide you, help you with those changes you should make, lead you to where HE wants you to be, trust Him to help you forgive somebody today, trust Him to ask somebody for forgiveness today, or trust Him to just simply be there to comfort you. We can't do these things on our own. It is impossible. I have tried. It doesn't work that way.  We need Him. 

We need to trust Him.