God was there in the beginning and God is Love, but I wasn’t there in the beginning…and I don’t feel that love right now. There are days when it’s hard to love others, but God says that those are the most important days to do just that. I stand with this reality in front of me on those days, and it’s difficult to say yes to a love that I do not see in action in others. I do not exist seeing the fullness of time knowing the eternal insignificance of my anger and the importance of love. I don’t want to see the fullness of time because the momentary affliction is too strong for me to wrap around my mind.
It is not easy to be the one sitting on the inside trying to look out at these issues. When the ones that I am called to love are fighting me at every opportunity they get, how can I be expected to love then? Sometimes I sit and wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to not love at all. I wonder if I could exist in a world of solitude knowing that I don’t have to be hurt when my brother in Christ turns to me and looks me in the eye and lies. I wonder if it’s easier to exist in a world without commitment and accountability when he takes that advice I give him and spits it in my face. I wonder if it’s easier to love without covenant when my loved ones and I fight to the point where it gets too personal and too direct. When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?
When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?
What exactly am I expected to do? I turn to the books and I re-read them, but what I’m reading has lost its meaning long ago. I flip through the pages of my bible looking for the answer but the Spirit sends me back only with the commandment to, “love as I loved first.” These words sting in my ears because they are the very reality I am fighting against. Love. What a word to come from someone I have cursed out in my prayers and yet He stays there. Am I expected to understand the depths of love from Someone who knew my every action while sitting on the outside of time and said yes? How can I stand in between the pain of my brother and the ones I love with this knowledge in my brain and say nothing?
I come back to the depths of my mind and ask, “Where am I to go?” God sends me back to the beginning and asks me where I am. I look into the depths of Him and see myself there. In the beginning of time. When God was love, and I was on His mind. He loved me first, and I chose to fight Him every opportunity I got. He loved me first, and I looked Him in His all-seeing eyes and I lied. He loved me first when I cursed His Spirit as He called my life and made it personal and direct. He loved me first when the resistance got so strong and I said no to the forgiveness of His Son, and yet He still called me back with those three words. Love Me first.
We were sitting in the park spread out on blankets. It was a beautiful afternoon and there wasn’t anywhere else we needed to be. We had prayer walked around Bucharest in smaller groups that morning and came together for a time of sharing over a picnic lunch. Most everywhere we went in the city, we stood out: Americans in Eastern Europe. But in the park, sitting down, gathered with Romanian and Brazilian friends, there wasn’t much to notice.
Still it seemed that a gathering of ten and twelve people was an unusual sight. Over the course of the afternoon, we were met with a lot of stares from passersby. Some were merely curious; others appeared less welcoming of our presence—and our prayers. Continue reading “An Afternoon At A Park In Bucharest”
“…we will have many trials and sorrows…” John 16:33
Brokenness is a part of life. God said in John 16:33 that “we will have many trials and sorrows…” As I read through the New Testament, it is laced with the honor of suffering for Christ and what those valleys produce. I have seen a lot of brokenness in my life and in the lives of those I love. But I have also seen God work to make beauty from the brokenness. It may look different than how we would have chosen it to look, but His redemptive hand rebuilds our lives when we let Him. Like clay in the Potters hands, He doesn’t throw it away when there is a problem. No, He starts over from the beginning and reshapes and rebuilds until it is what He desires it to look like. I’m thankful today for His heart to make beauty out of the brokenness in my life and in the lives of those I love.
His redemptive hand rebuilds our lives when we let Him.
B R O K E N N E S S.
We have all felt it and experienced it in some way. The severity may differ, but the weight of it the same. It can feel like what you are enduring is impossible to overcome. One thing I’ve learned in my different seasons of heartbreak and brokenness is that God does not call us to remain broken. He may call us to those uncomfortable and painful places, but His intention is never for us to wallow there. No, His intention is that we grab onto His hand to get back up and grow from there.
Just like the Israelites formed an altar each time the Lord had protected them and provided for them, we are to remember our broken seasons as we rise out of them with hope in what our God can do. Not only does this give Him the glory, but it also reminds us that our God is able. He never leaves us to figure it out, but He always comes through and gives us strength to make it through any trial or persecution that comes our way.
Today take a moment to reflect on 2016. It may have been a year of blessing for you, or it may have been a year of extreme loss or brokenness. Whatever you experienced, write down the moments where God revealed His provision for you. When we take time to focus on who He is and what He has done, it will glorify Him and give us hope for the future when more trials come our way.
When we take time to focus on who He is and what He has done, it will glorify Him and give us hope for the future when more trials come our way.
In my last blog post, I wrote about how I need to do more preaching to my own soul, to get truth sown deeper into my heart and mind…especially during the difficult times and circumstances of life. Well, sometimes, I struggle with this.
I can tend to get into such a place that it would take more mental and emotional where-with-all, strength and stamina than I have at that moment to even know where to start. The scriptures that had once brought comfort and peace and that strengthened me, that I wrote on my bathroom mirror and have on my screensaver and put as the wallpaper on my phone, fall flat. I can read them and have friends speak them to me and even meditate on them, trying to squeeze out the same results that I had before when that scripture brought me new life, but to no avail…I’m still just as broken or hurt or hopeless.
I have learned that for me, in those times, I need a little something else before I am able to absorb the truths that I know in my head but that are having a hard time penetrating my heart…and it’s not because the truths are not as true this time or that the effectiveness of scripture has changed. Typically for me, it is because I am spent. (You know, when it’s not because I’m being rebellious and outright ignoring or rejecting truth.) I’m mentally, spiritually and emotionally exhausted, and I can’t even think of how to approach preaching to myself. But because my God is faithful and gracious to me, He has given me a tool to use when I can’t make myself function, when I need to stop trying to fix myself and just rest in His presence. For me, that tool is worship, songs of truth that can wash over me in comforting waves and that I can proclaim when I can’t find the words for myself.
Continue reading “Truth Through Earbuds”
“You who seek God, let your hearts revive.” Psalm 69:32
I am sitting in my living room with my coffee in hand on this raining start to the work week. It is such a peaceful moment to quiet my soul before the Lord as the day begins. I love mornings like this, but they are not always in my daily routine.
How many times do I rush through the Word just to check it off on my to-do list only to feel an empty soul by the end of the week. When my busy season begins to grow, my ability to hear His voice seems to decrease. I’m less attentive to His promptings and direction. And when things become more difficult than the average daily struggles, my decisions begin to be based more on emotions, I get frustrated, and I feel full of fear.
Continue reading “Come Away & Revive Your Life”
Most of us live in a rather sheltered and comfortable community, and sometimes it can be easy to hear intensely difficult stories and think, “That is so foreign to me. I can not relate at all.” And maybe we write it off because we didn’t find it relative to us, or maybe we glaze over it because we don’t want to hear those kinds of things and expose ourselves to that level of hurt and pain. We want to protect ourselves from the heavy, dark and painful things in this world.
Well, I want to speak into that self-protective tendency in us all. Cause I can do the same thing, especially when my own life is feeling pretty heavy. However, I have a unique perspective on this, because I actually have one of those intense stories as my own story. It has often been difficult for others to hear. It makes them face the evil that exists in this world. An evil that I never had a choice in knowing about.
Continue reading “Uncomfortable Love”
Things began to change as I grew up a little (physically, mentally and spiritually), went to college, and experienced some trials. I traveled a bit and remember feeling a little out of place.
I made many mistakes. I took the road that many traveled and left the one that few take. I decided that I knew best. In the end, it was hard to even see my reflection. God brought me to a place of brokenness. A place that ultimately led me into His arms.
Now, you’re graduating. You’re ending a chapter to begin another. Time moves so quickly. So I want to write you a letter to help you begin this new journey. I hope this reaches your heart and you remember it in moments of indecisiveness, trials and failures.
Continue reading “Dear Senior…”