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To be honest, I don’t really know where this is about to go. Typically, when I write, a thought pops into my mind and I think about it for a few days before typing it out when it feels right. But right now, I just feel the need to write.

About what? I don’t really know. Why? Because I have been following the lead of my Creator for long enough to know when He is working something out within me. For what reason? I don’t know yet. Sometimes I never find the answer to that last question, but I’m kind of amazed by that. Amazed  by the idea that these words have power beyond my understanding. That by taking the time to just let the Lord do His thing through me, I could be used to bring glory to the God of all creation…somehow.

Let me be very clear, in my own right I am not worthy. I am not worthy of any clever phrase or well-structured sentence credited to my name (not many of those here, I’m afraid…grammar was never my strongest subject) .  I am not worthy to even think the name of Yahweh.

But y’all. God is. He is worthy of so much more than these words can express. He is worthy of every ounce of praise we shout and every prayer we pray, spoken or not. He is worthy of more glory and adoration than I could ever give.

Because He is God. Redeemer of the lost. Healer of the sick. Helper of the poor. Savior of the world. Creator of all things. Restorer of the broken. Sustainer of sanity. Pursuer of hearts. Answerer of prayers. Provider of needs. Father to the fatherless. Planner of futures. Worker of miracles. Friend to the lonely. Sovereign in all situations. Shelter for the weak. Bearer of heavy loads. King of all kings. Transformer of hearts and lives… and this is only scratching the surface because my human brain cannot comprehend all that He is. These are just the glimpses of Himself He has graciously allowed me to see.

So this is it. Maybe you’re still not sold on this whole “God thing.” Maybe you’ve never experienced the Lord in your own life. Maybe you’ve heard all about it but you want to know Him personally. Maybe you needed to be reminded of one of these attributes. Maybe you have another you’d like to add the the list.

Whatever your case is, bring it to God.

Please. I may have only seen glimpses, but I know that He is worthy of your time and capable of handling your circumstances, whatever they may be.

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when the fear comes…

Today is March 3, 2019.

On this day last year, life was good. I was happy, I was healthy, I was working.  The Lord had just brought me out of a season of waiting and feeling “stuck” (see “The Desert Place post if you don’t believe me), and I was excited about His working in my life.

Today, I reflect on that day and I’m honestly brought to tears by what I didn’t know then. I didn’t know that in 9 short days life as I knew it would be turned upside down.  I didn’t know that I was about to be brought to the end of my strength, my sanity, and frankly my ability to live. I didn’t know that over the next few months I was going to find myself closer to the Lord of my heart than ever before out of pure desperation to grasp the one thing I knew would stay steady.

I didn’t know.  Because it hadn’t happened yet.

So today, I have to admit that the point behind me writing this is that I am finding fear creeping into my heart.  Fear is reminding me of how oblivious I was to the pain that was so near to making its presence known, and fear is telling me that it can happen again.

As the 1 year mark gets closer and closer on my calendar, I find myself in crippling moments when the fear of my headache returning overwhelms me. It terrifies me.  It reminds me of the miserable pain and whispers to me that I couldn’t survive that again. And y’all, the limits of my humanity agree with the fear. I don’t think I could survive that again.

But God.

I could honestly stop writing there because God is the only word I need to keep speaking over myself. I need to be reminded of God.

I need to be reminded of God’s past faithfulness, of His right-now presence, of His future promises.

I need to be reminded of the love story He has written to me, of the sacrificial and unconditional love He has shown me by saving my doubting soul.

I need to be reminded that even when I want to let go and give in to the fear, He holds on to my heart and whispers truth. Even when I’m paralyzed by fear and don’t think I can take another step into the unknown, He sustains me…and carries me if need be.

I need to be reminded of His  grace. The kind of grace that gets me through the day when the day seems like it just won’t end.

I need to be reminded that time and time again He has rescued me from fear and provided a shelter for me in Himself, and He will continue to do so until I’m home with Him where fear cannot find me.

I need to be reminded of the peace that is found only in Him. The peace that goes beyond my circumstances and remains steadfast in the chaos.

I needed to be reminded of the purpose behind the pain. The pain was real, but I cannot express the incredible joy I have found in His presence or the unending gratitude that fills my heart each day at the thought of His provision during the fiasco that was my life in 2018.

When I think about enduring any kind of pain like that again, my humanness shouts that I could not survive it again. But God. God is reminding me of Himself. He carried me through once before and if the pain comes again, the Lord will carry me, once again.


 

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you…The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
-Psalm 91:1-7,14-16

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JOY

2018 – What a year. One of my favorite things to do as the year comes to a close is think about where I am now compared to where I was when this year began, and this year has by far been the most challenging and rewarding years I have ever experienced. There has been stress, suffering, and lots of searching for answers I may never find on this side of heaven, but there has also been strength. There has been more strength than I knew possible, more love than I am worthy of, and more joy than I can hold in my heart…

It’s no secret that I am Christmas crazy, and while I sadly have already safely packed away most of my Christmas decorations, I’m still caught on the joy that surrounds this season. Because of the gift sent to us all those Christmas’s ago, there is JOY to be found in this season and in every day to come. So as you read the descriptions of joy I have found to be true this year, my prayer is that the joy of the Lord will fill your spirit so completely that this joy will overflow into the world around you each and every day.

Joy is independent of circumstance. It is not restricted by what is going on in your life. As believers, we are called to “always be full of joy in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4) and to “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Joy is possible in all moments because it is found in our Lord, not our circumstances.

Joy is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit. King David said “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence…” (Psalm 16:11). This same joy is offered to each of us today through the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit.  The Creator of the world is with you, living within your heart. When your circumstances don’t leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, lean into the joy found in His presence. He will always be there.

Joy is found in trusting that your Creator is working out his purposes for your life. He is working for your good and for His glory.  God created you, uniquely and intentionally, for a specific purpose that He wants you to fulfill. When you trust the plan he has so carefully laid out for you, there is joy to be found in knowing that “God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).


“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13


Joy is meant to be as steadfast as the faithfulness of our God. It may not always be as visible as it’s worldly counterpart of happiness, but joy will always be found when you remember that our God is faithful. Psalm 126:3 says, “The Lord has done  great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”  Isaiah 35:10 says, “Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” David says in Psalm 71:23, “I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me.” Jude 24-25 reminds us of the faithful promise that God “will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”

Throughout the Bible are examples of believers who have no reason to be happy, but every reason to be filled with joy at the redeeming power of God.  As you reflect on the last year and look forward to what the next has to hold, remember what the Lord has done for you / what he has brought you through / how he has lifted you, and be filled with overflowing joy.

Joy is not a fleeting feeling, escaping you when the pain is just too bad or the hurt is just too deep. Joy is the strength that carries you through the pain, the grief, and the struggle as you hold tight to the hand of your Deliverer, your Protector, and your Healer. One of my favorite reminders of this is Nehemiah 8:10, which tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The entire book of Job is a testimony of joy that can be found in the most difficult of circumstances – he endured every trial and every sadness and at his lowest point, when he no longer wanted to live, still maintained “my joy in unrelenting pain–that I had not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10).

Additional reminders of strength in joy are found in the Psalms, including Psalm 21:1 which says “How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord! He shouts with joy because you give him victory.” and Psalm 94:19 which says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Joy is the knowledge of unchanging Truth – You are loved by the Everlasting Father (Romans 8:38-39). You are forgiven through the Prince of Peace (Ephesians 2:8). You have been adopted as a son of the Most High God. You have been made a daughter of the King of kings (Romans 8:15-17). You have been brought to life by the gift of the Perfect Savior (John 3:16-17).

Joy is for all believers…not just believers with sunny dispositions and optimistic attitudes. Remember what the angel told the shepherds on that holy night? He said to them, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today…” (Luke 2:10).

Jesus is our joy.  He came for us, all of us. Immanuel. Joy to the world.

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