hallelujah

When I started this blog a few years ago, I wanted it to be real. The real me with real struggles and real successes all wrapped up in a very real God who orchestrates all the seemingly crazy moments into a purpose-filled life.

So the back story for this post –

March 12: Tax season is in full swing, hours are creeping above 40/week, life is good, but a minor headache begins (and I assume tax season is to blame because it can be stressful y’all).

Fast forward almost 11 weeks: That minor headache overnight became the hands-down worst pain that I have ever experienced, and it never let up.  My life consisted of trying to sleep, going to work, and wanting desperately to get back home to try to sleep again because sleep was the only time my head didn’t hurt.  Many doctors, many MRI’s, and many, many tears later, surgery was really the only option, so that’s what we did.

Thankfully (x a million), the surgery has been successful and recovery, though not without a few set-backs, has been smoother than expected.

Now to the point of this post –

“…I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” – Isaiah 46:4

He will sustain you.

With every medicine that didn’t work, doctor that couldn’t give me answers, night that I couldn’t sleep, and day that I physically couldn’t function, I became more frustrated and felt more helpless.

But I also became more reliant on the good Lord because honestly, I had to.  I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew I couldn’t get out of bed and pretend I was fine in my own strength.  I knew I couldn’t put a smile on my face every day when it took every part of me to just get up in the morning.

Thankfully, with many God-timed reminders from friends and family along the way, it is with every ounce of gratefulness in my body that I say God truly sustained me.  He was my strength, He was my motivation, and He was the hope that I desperately needed. Because no matter how bad I felt, I knew even more that my God makes no mistake. “If this pain is part of my life, God has a purpose for it.” became the mantra that I had to cling to daily.

So let me say again, God will sustain you, just as He faithfully has every other day of your life.

In pain, in suffering, in confusion, in questioning, in grief, in sadness, in depression, in anxiety, in stress, in loss, and in every other phase of life, the Creator of every good thing will sustain you because that is who He is.

He is sovereign and gracious and persistent and faithful and purposeful and loving and so, so much more.

I know there are many people fighting a battle much bigger than mine, but please hear me when I say that no battle is too big for the God who splits seas and opens the eyes of the blind.

On the other hand, many people are fighting a battle that seems smaller than mine, so also hear me when I say that no battle is too small for the God who cares for you so deeply and so personally that He knows just how many hairs are on your head.

He will sustain you. He will catch you. Or He will pick you back up if He allows you to fall (again, He makes no mistake). He will rescue you. He will be your source of strength or light or hope or love or joy or grace or mercy or freedom or literally any other thing you could possibly need.

So what will I do in response to the greatness of my God? Honestly, no words have come to mind that seem to be enough, so all I’ve been able to say is “Hallelujah.”

Hallelujah – God be praised.

Throughout this journey, there was a song that sang the words I prayed over and over again: “Whatever’s in front of me, help me to sing Hallelujah.”

After saying it so many times, I’ve experienced more than ever that there is power in a “Hallelujah.”

So whatever you’re going through – sing, shout, cry, scream, or if you don’t think you can do any of those then simply whisper it. “Hallelujah, God will sustain me.”


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the desert place

*Full disclosure – I wrote this a few nights ago when sleep escaped me, life drained me, and Jesus lovingly reminded me of who He is through it all.  I still find myself in this season that feels a lot like a faith-drought, but I am waiting on my Jesus and trusting Him through this desert place*

Here I am in this season where I feel as if I’ve lost my fire, my desire, and my awe of Jesus.  And here I am reading and praying and wanting so desperately to snap out of it because it feels wrong, and it feels fake.

But isn’t it funny how God seems to speak even when we don’t hear him?  I’ve been reading the same Psalm twice a day for the past two weeks and right now it’s almost as if I’m reading it for the first time.  It begins with this:

“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” 

It’s as if through this waiting for the voice of God or waiting for the “feeling” of his presence to find me again in this dry season that God simply speaks.  Not in a roar or a huge rush of excitement in an ‘ah-ha’ moment, but a quiet moment at about 12:15 AM, in the dark, when I’m worn out and tired. And this is what he says to my heart –

“I am your Shepherd, you shall not want.

You want this amazing moment when you find Me after a dry season, but I just want you to rest in Me.  You are worn and you are burnt out and you are exhausted. I want you to simply sit with Me.  Not wanting a  big show of Me, but simply waiting–not wanting–in My presence.  

Allow Me to refresh your soul. Let Me, your Healer, soak up the heaviness and revive your spirit. I want to do this. I want you to let Me do this, but you must be still.

You must stop moving. Stop wanting. Stop beating yourself up because you feel like you should find Me by being swept up in a big rush of worship or revival. 

I decide how and when to speak. I know what is best for you, and right now that is to remind you–gently and softly–that I am your Shepherd, your Protector, and your Provider.  You don’t always need life-altering moments and heart stopping feelings. 

You need Me, and you will find Me as you lie down and let Me watch and work over you, as you walk with Me by waters of rest.

I am your Shepherd. You shall not want.”


Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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Begin Again

Ask just about anyone and they’ll say that New Years Day is the perfect time to start fresh, but ask me and I’ll say it’s at Christmas.

I love everything about Christmas, but what I love most is what it represents.  I know I’m a few days late (but really I’m still full of Christmas Spirit), but the rest of this post was written a few weeks ago, so forgive me for waiting until now to share:

Tonight I am angry, I am frustrated, and I am full of my own selfish pride.  Is this my proudest moment? Definitely not.  Is this my worst moment? Definitely not.  Do I have to keep myself in this mindset because that’s just who I am?  Thanks to my Savior, definitely not.  

Christmas to me is all about new beginnings. A time that reminds me both of who I was at my worst and who I hope to be in my future.  Why? Because we have been given the incredibly undeserved gift of a second chance through a beautiful exchange.

We don’t have to look at ourselves in the mirror every morning, wishing we could somehow forget the mistakes of our past and be a better person. Because Jesus Christ loved us enough to humbly come into a broken world to give himself in exchange for our shortcomings, we don’t just “wish” for a chance to begin again, we are given that very chance every single day, in every single moment.

We have hope. We have hope in the promises our Heavenly Father has made and in the birth of a Savior that came to wash away our sins and offer us a fresh start, a new beginning.

You don’t have to be who you used to be, or even who are you right now in this moment. You have the ability to pick yourself up, climb into the loving arms of your Savior, and choose to begin again.

You have the choice of embracing all that He has offered you. Does that mean you will never make another mistake? Definitely not. But by the grace of God it means you are no longer defined by those mistakes.  

You have been offered new life. A new, eternal, hopeful, joyful, love-filled life now stands in the place of the broken, angry, messed-up, failure that you had deemed your life to be.

This is the gift of Christmas. This is why I celebrate, why I cherish, and why I seemingly turn into a 5-year old when I think of this time of year. I have been made new. I have been forgiven. I have been redeemed. And you can say the same for yourself because of the gift born on Christmas.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” -Matthew 1:21


“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”


 

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a time for everything

As I sit here and think about all the blessings I’ve been shown in my now twenty-one years, I am truly in awe.  In awe of the amazing support system I have in my family and friends. In awe of the love I’ve been shown.  In awe of the life I’ve been given.  In awe of the Lord who got me through every up and down along the way.

I am a self-proclaimed old soul, so even at a mere twenty-one I find it fitting that I share a piece of the wisdom I have found throughout my life in hopes of inspiring an “awe” moment for anyone reading…

Life is not simple.  You may look at me and say that I know nothing about “hard times” and that my life has been all sunshine and unending happiness, and to an extent you would be right.  My life has been full of blessings and things I will forever be thankful for, but that doesn’t mean every day has been easy.

Ecclesiastes 3 explains perfectly the life we all live on earth.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
v. 1-8

Life is a constant change.  We are constantly moving from one point to the next, from one place to another. We have ups and downs, laughter and pain, good days and not so good days.

In my life, I’ve experienced all of these. I’ve had times of complete joy; times when I had not a worry in the world because my life was just good.  I’ve had times of sadness, where the loss I was facing seemed too big to overcome.  I’ve had times where life seemed to throw every punch it could, and times where not even a punch could hinder the joy I was experiencing.

But time doesn’t just stand still.  We will not be in any one season forever.  Good times come and go just like bad times.  If you’re in a season of  heartache, find comfort in knowing it will not last forever.  If you’re in a season of laughter, remember to be present in each moment because you don’t know what tomorrow holds.

If you’re like me, change isn’t always the most welcome idea.  Moving into a new season of life, full of uncertainties, and feeling like you’re walking blind is not a fun thing.  But more than simply saying there is a time for everything, the Bible gives us an unwavering hope in the midst of any and every season of life.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

This verse reminds me that because God is sovereign, I have no need to worry.  It’s okay that I don’t know what my next season will be or when it will arrive because the Lord’s perspective is much higher than my own. I’m also reminded to look for the beauty of the season I find myself in now, even if that doesn’t seem possible.

Whatever season you find yourself in, remember that “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” There is beauty in every season because God has made it so. Though the beauty may be hard to find in moments of suffering, trust the Lord’s perspective and know that you will one day see it clearly. He knows the path you will walk because he laid it out for you.  And more than that, he walks with you.  In every season, in every step, God is there and He knows.


John 16:33 – Psalm 139 – 2 Corinthians 5:7 – Romans 12:12 – Psalm 37:23/24

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