Category Archives: Blessings

Joy, Where Are You?

Some mornings I can barely find the energy to get out of bed. I’m exhausted and worn out and in pain and I simply don’t want to do anything but lay there. This morning was one of those mornings. My alarm clock (AKA, my children) started screaming in my ears and I had to get up and face the world. Before I could even get out of bed, the girls were already dressed for church and chattering in their fastest, most excited voices about what they might do at church today. So, begrudgingly, I got up, showered, and got ready for church.
And I’m glad I did. 

We sang some of my favorite Christmas songs, which immediately lifted my mood a bit.

  

“I rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

Today’s sermon was titled, “Joy” and based on Luke 2:8-20. My first thought, from anxious and depressed mind was, “oh great, joy. That’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.” But that’s exactly why I needed to hear it. 

Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭ESV

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

So apparently, joy is command. My pastor opened up the sermon with that and all I could think was, “great, we’re starting the morning off with something I suck at.” But as he kept talking, I understood it more. God doesn’t want me to have fake joy, like the fake smile I tend to plaster on my face when I tell everyone I’m doing great. But God wants me to a real, genuine joy – the kind that only He can give me; the kind that comes from being awestruck by an amazing God. 

  

Let me be real here for a minute, the last few weeks I have been stuck in a cycle of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. I’m having brain surgery in four days and I’m scared – really scared, about all the “what ifs” and things that could possibly go wrong. I really haven’t felt much joy at all. I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been reading my Bible. I’ve just been quietly simmering with anger at God for not making me healthy. But the more I’ve ignored God, the worse I’ve felt. The more I’ve pushed Him away, the angrier I’ve gotten. My joy has been nonexistent.

I feel like an outsider in this world, like I just don’t belong anywhere. I have some wonderful friends and great church family – but often, I just feel different, like I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel lost. My pastor’s first point today was that joy is for the outsiders. We explained how God sent His angels to the shepherds, of all people. He could’ve sent the angels to someone powerful, like a king or ruler, but He didn’t. He sent them to shepherds – to the outsiders. 

In the same way, in our current society, God doesn’t come only for the “insiders.” He doesn’t come just for the powerful and popular – He comes for the outsiders. But here’s the thing, if you really think about it – we’re all outsiders. None of us in this world are insiders; we are all OUTSIDE of Heaven. And my pastor made a good point, even the people who I look at and think have it together and appear to fit in so well – even they struggle with feeling like outsiders, it simply part of being human. And we all feel like no one else feels the way we do so none of us talk about it; but if we did, we would know we weren’t alone. 

  

So in acknowledging that others feel like outsiders as well and many of us never speak of it, how well do I reflect God to others? How well do I reflect God’s love to those who feel like they don’t belong?

The second point that my pastor made today was that joy comes from Heaven. We don’t create joy from within ourselves. I can be sad or depressed or going through a rough time and still feel joy in my heart. God is perfect and Holy and separate from us, but He is also imminent and close through Jesus. 

The glory and power of God reassuring, but it should also leave a healthy fear in us. When the angels came to the shepherds, they were scared because they felt unworthy of their holiness. But the angels told them not to be afraid, for they had new that would bring great joy. The birth of Jesus brings us joy by reminding us that even though we may be going through a rough time now, even though we’re scared, even though we feel lost, even though life is hard – a savior has come to save us. 
How much different would my life be if I believed, I mean rally believed deep in my heart, that Jesus came down from Heaven for me? 

  

Lastly, my pastor touched on having joy in the valley – this was, I felt, the most fitting part for me today. I’ve had “mountaintop experiences” – times where God’s love and glory are so apparent that I am in awe and filled with joy. The goal is to live out the joy from those mountain top experiences while we’re in the valley. God wants me to treasure His words in my heart and live my life in faith. It doesn’t sounds THAT difficult. But when you’re in the valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative – the fear, worry, pain, and anxiety. But God calls us to remember the things we know to be true, to remember the mountaintop, remember what His closeness feels like – those are the things that will bring us joy in the valley. 

Each day that God gives me in a gift and I should rejoice in every day – even the days when I’m in the valley. 

So let me rephrase my current thoughts and worries…

  

I’m having brain surgery in four days. I may be scared, but even if the worst happens – if I were to die, I would go Home to Jesus and have no more pain. If it’s successful, I will stop going blind and my vision will be saved. If something goes wrong and I come out of surgery with some type of disability, God will use that to glorify Him. I am scared and I really don’t want to go through with it. But just like He always does, God has me in the palm of His hand and whatever happens will not be a surprise to Him, He already knows and He will care for and provide for me no matter what.

I simply need to trust Him and find my joy in Him, not in this world.

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Jesus, I Need You

You ever have one of those days where the enemy feels the need to remind you of every bad thing you’ve ever done in your life? Yup, today was one of those…this was my response – I had a talk with Jesus.

Jesus, I Need You
Here I stand broken
I’ve got nothing to bring
I’m holding on to the lies
Like a cat on a string
I’ve pierced my own skin
And denied Your truth
I’ve gotten lost in my mind
And I let go of You
Jesus, I need You

My stomach is empty
Poison courses my veins
My body is fading
I can’t handle this shame
You say You can reach
All the way out to me
But I feel just one step
Too far to be free
Jesus, I need You

If You know my heart
You know my evil thoughts
I once held on to You
But I let go and I’m lost
I’m trying to fight
The lies and temptations
But few things can compare
To power of starvation
Jesus, I need You

My sin is enclosing
Around my every side
The truth is fading
While I cling to the lies
I worthless and useless
You’ll never love me
The voices keep screaming
That You can’t save me
Am I too far gone
To receive Your grace
Your love and Your mercy
I’m just a disgrace
Jesus, I need You

I’m crying to You
As loud as I can
My ground has been shaken
And I can no longer stand
My voice, it cracks
As I beg You to answer
Because, Lord, if You don’t
My heart won’t endure
If You can’t save me
I have nothing left
The only choice I will have
Is to end it in death
Jesus, I need You

Then I heard Him…
“Daughter, You have me.
I’ve always been right here
So let me confront you with truth
In the midst of your fear
You are faced with two choices
Only you can make
You can wallow in pity
Or admit your mistakes
It comes down to one question
Do you believe
That I died on a cross
Nails in my hands and feet
I was scared too
Just like you are now
But even then I loved you
Enough to pour my blood out
You could never pay
The price of your own sin
My death on that cross
Is the only way You’ll see Him
I conquered death
And I took on satan
So that you could be free
From this life you are living
So tell me, is that enough
For you to trust
Will you stop fighting
And just give it up
Or are you gonna tell me
That my death was in vain
That I died on that cross
Just to feel the pain
I died for you
So that you could live
I’ve made your heart new
You’ve been forgiven
I didn’t deserve
The death I received
It was meant for you
But I took it on Me
So don’t you yet see
That I want to help you
If you’ll give me your hand
Just trust that I can rescue
You must make a choice
So what will you choose
My arms are always open
Just waiting for you.”

Jesus, I am so sorry
For my doubt and control
Please take it all
My heart, mind, and soul
I need you to heal me
I need your strength
I’m scared and confused
But I’ll trust what You say
Jesus, I need You


Mama Called the Doctor and the Doctor a Said…

“No more running.”

Those were the words Dr. Madden spoke that brought me to tears. As I sat in the exam room and we discussed my options – cast, boot, surgery, rest, crutches, I found myself so lost in my emotions. He held up my x-ray to the light and showed me the very clear image of my foot and the fibular sesamoid bone that is in two pieces. Then he pulled out the report for the bone scan. I knew all of this before going in to his office, but somehow I had hoped that maybe it wouldn’t be THAT bad.

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I sat on that exam table, tears and snot dripping from my face (I am not one of those women who cries cutely) and I asked him the same question every runner asks, “when can I run again?” He, of course, laughed at my question and then explained the recovery process to me.

I will run again one day. I will start back at square one, but I will run again. Running is something I have grown to love. I am a runner. Running is what I do. When life is chaotic – I run. When I am upset – I run. When I am happy – I run. When I need quiet time – I run. The answer is always “go for a run,” no matter what the question is.

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So here’s where I realize I have a problem. I was presented tonight with the question, “what is it about NOT running that is so terrible?” And boom! That’s where it hit me – I’ve idolized running. I’ve stopped trusting God for my salvation and I’ve been looking for it on my own through my success in running.

I never thought I could run, but once I started running, I took off and didn’t look back. So when I started having an achey pain in my right foot last August, I ignored it. When I finally went to the doctor they said it was a stress fracture. Then another doctor said it was just my shoes – I liked that answer better, so I bought new shoes and kept running…even though I was still in pain.

Then, as I was training for a half marathon I hurt my left foot. The initial diagnosis was stress fracture. Then it was osteochondritis defect lesion. Now, it’s tendonitis.

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Now that I’m seeing a podiatrist, I’m finally getting accurate care for my feet. It’s hard for me to accept that I cannot run right now and I’m literally grieving the temporary loss of my ability to run. It turns out that achey pain in my right foot from last year is a broken bone. So now, I am having surgery next month to remove my fibular sesamoid bone and 3-4 months after that I will be able to run again.

Running is wonderful. It’s good and healthy and freeing. But just like any other good thing in this world, when it becomes more important than God it is no longer a good thing.

My biggest problem though doesn’t even have anything to do with running. My biggest problem is that I’ve put God on the back seat of my life and let running take the wheel. Now, I look back to the cross.

In church this morning, my pastor said something to the effect of – when I’m having a hard time trusting God, I need to look back at what God has done in my life in the past. Which also reminds me of something a very sweet friend of mine told me about 2 years ago, “look at what God did then. He will do it again.”

I’m thankful for sweet friends, a great small group, an awesome pastor, but mostly for a loving and faithful God who has given me more grace and mercy than I deserve.

I am scared of surgery. I am scared of not running again. I am scared of all the “what ifs”. But what I know is that no matter what, God is in control of it all. He already knows.

Yes, I am currently struggling to trust God because this is not how I want things to go. But in the midst of that struggle, I also know that He is helping me to trust Him more each day.


The Mommy Vacation

Spending 4 days in the hospital wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I envisioned a mommy vacation. So be careful what you wish you for.

Last weekend I went to the ER for an inflamed and infected ear. I had intended to just go to the doctor on Monday, but because I was crying due to the pain, Robert suggested I don’t wait and I go to the ER.

Who knew that one ER visit would turn into 4 days in the hospital. Turns out I had a staph infection and cellulitis in the ear. The pain was phenomenal. I’ve never felt pain like that before. The doctors had to surgically drain the infection out of my ear. They had to cut into the upper ear, but because of the way the nerves work, it wasn’t possible to completely numb the ear…so I felt each incision in my already hurting ear.

That was followed by 4 days of IV antibiotics and doctors and nurses poking at the ear.

Not quite my idea of a mommy vacation.

During all this time, my first thought was what are Robert and the girls going to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that he’s incapable of caring for the girls. But as a wife and mom, my heart is for my family…so as much as I would welcome a mommy break, this isn’t what I had planned.

As soon as I spread the word that I was in the hospital, my mother-in-law came into town to help out with the girls. The wonderful ladies who I attend Bible study with sprung into action to plan meals for my family. It was nice to not have to worry as much about my family while I was away.

It’s always been hard for me to accept help…but God used this experience to remind me that it’s okay to accept help from others and it okay to reach out for help. He also used this to show me that my friends love me and care about me more than I think.

I’m so thankful for all of the people who have been a blessing to my family in one way or another. God has given me such wonderful friends and family. This hospital was scary and painful, and I wouldn’t have made it through so easily without all the prayers and blessings of sweet friends.


I’m Still Here

I realized recently that it has been a while since I posted a blog other than my 7-in-7 poems. So here’s one to get you caught up with where I’ve been over the last few months.

1)      I’m still running. I’ve been running my heart out to prepare for my first half marathon, which is in 20 days – the Rock n’ Roll half marathon in New Orleans. I’m still in desperate need of fundraising though. I’m running the Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I had planned a LEGO® Brick building competition, but we’ve had to adjust our plans to only do a virtual build competition because there wasn’t as much interest in it as we had thought. I’m pretty bummed out about it, but I’m praying that God will provide a way. I have 13 days to finish raising the money.

2)      Training is hard. Training for this half marathon has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Yesterday I ran my first double digit run – 10.01 miles. By the time I got home I was ready to collapse. My body ached and I was exhausted. But the pride I felt is something that no one can take away from me and something that no one could ever buy. I earned every mile of that run through the strength that God has given me. I am weak to survive these long runs on my own and I am so thankful that God is on these runs with me, giving me the strength to press on when I feel like I can’t take another step.

3)      Husband is home!!! Robert has been home for a little over a month now. It’s so amazing to have him here – to fall asleep next to him at night and have someone to share my lonely evenings with after the girls are in bed. The Army life is hard, but thankfully God has given us the grace to get through another deployment.

4)      My sister finished chemo and kicked cancer’s butt. You haven’t seen true strength until you’ve witnessed someone fighting cancer. Her strength amazes me and I’m so thankful that God got us all through it. She is why I am running. She is why I push myself so hard in training. She is my big sister. I may not tell her this enough, but even though we are grown up and have families of our own, I still look up to her.

5)      I’m almost a certified personal trainer. I’ll be taking my test later on in the month and (if I pass) I will be certified and ready to start training. So who’s ready to train with me?

 

There’s so much more I could write about right now, but I’m limited on time right now. I’ll update more later. My  New Year’s resolution is to post at least once a week, so you should be seeing a lot more from me in the near future.


Learning the Limits

I’ve always been an “all-or-nothing” kind of person. Because of that, I’ve pushed myself, in certain areas of my life, way beyond my physical or mental limitations. I think learning my limits, among other things, is one of the things God is trying to teach me as I run and work out.

Being that I’ve found something that has given me more joy than anything else I’ve ever done, I’m bound to push myself too hard…that’s just what I do – what I’ve always done. But here’s the thing that worries me, if I push myself too hard, I will probably hurt myself, then I’ll be out for good. I’ll lose the thing that I took so long to find. And while not running may not be the end of the world, it would definitely be very upsetting.

So I’m learning that there are physical limitations to what I can and cannot do.

Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone who is among you not to think more highly of yourself than what one ought to think, but to think sensibly, as God has apportioned a measure of faith to each one.

God didn’t make us to be limitless and indestructible. If that we’re the case, we wouldn’t need each other and we wouldn’t need Him. But we do. We cannot make it through this life on only our own strength; I can tell you from experience, that doesn’t work! I can push myself farther than my physical/psychological ability, end up hurting myself, and live in a solitary and depressing world – or, I can admit my need for God and for others and enjoy the freedom, love, and grace that comes along with that. Which will I choose?

I am human. I am fallible. I am clumsy. I am stubborn. But in spite of all that, I am loved, I am forgiven, and I am free. My body is not as indestructible as I, too often, like to think it is. I have physical limitations and I have emotional limitations; and in those, in my weaknesses, God’s strength and glory will shine.

2 Corinthians 12:9 –
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So here’s to my weaknesses. Here’s to that grace of an amazing God who is strong in my weakness.

Thank you, God, for teaching me that I have limits.


Stay the Course

Do you ever think God isn’t involved in or doesn’t care about the small details of your life? You know, the things that are seemingly insignificant, that don’t really make a big impact on life (or so you think)? That is where I experience God’s love more than anywhere else.

I am impatient. I want what I want and I want it now; a result of growing up in a culture of instant gratification. I often expect God to do what I want Him to do, just because it’s what I want Him to do. I don’t give a thought to whether or not it is the best thing for me from God’s perspective. When God doesn’t do what I think He should be doing in my life, I find myself getting frustrated and doubtful about whether or not He’s active in my life at all. But in my doubt and in my frustration, God proves Himself over and over again as He shows me who He is and how He loves me with small, unnecessary, movements.

Now don’t get me wrong, God has worked in and through me in huge ways that I never knew were possible; and that simply amazes me. The changes that God has made in me, never cease to show me how much He loves and cares about me. But those are the big things, the obviously broken parts of me. Somehow, I seem to often forget that God also cares about the little things, like how far I run, the books I read, the time I go to sleep, the timing of the sunset…and the list goes on.

Let me be honest, until now, I’ve really never given my all, all my energy, strength, and heart, to anything I’ve ever done. But now that I finally see that I really can do anything, I also see that there is only One who deserves my everything because it’s only through Him that I can do anything.

God has shown me magical things lately…things that prove His love for me in unimaginable ways.

A few weeks ago, I was out for a run and still trying to decide how far I would run, when my music stopped, there was God to tell me to slow down and take it easy, not to do too much, too fast. In that moment I was awestruck by God’s overwhelming love for me in things that don’t really seem to matter.

While out on a different run, at 2 miles in, I was feeling tired and I wanted to quit. When I ran by this church in my neighborhood (which I didn’t know existed until then).

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I was breath taken by God’s activeness in my life. The words on that sign spoke so deeply to me, it was as if Jesus, Himself, was standing right there speaking to me. It was unlike any feeling I’ve ever had before.

So when I start thinking that God is silent, that He’s ignoring me, or that He doesn’t care…I can think back to that sign.

“Stay the course. God’s timing is perfect.”


Blessings in Chaos

Life has been hectic for the Fishers lately. We’re in the process of buying our first house…and it has been a long journey of frustration and disappointment. But this week, we will be closing on our first house. We will have our very first home together and I couldn’t be more excited. But with that excitement also comes a sadness at knowing that once we get settled into the house, Robert will be deploying shortly thereafter.

So in the midst of the chaos – preparing for deployment, packing, cleaning, signing paperwork, re-signing the same form ten times, submitting new forms to the mortgage company, setting up insurance, electricity, and water, I seem to have been letting the little blessings in life slip by unnoticed. So I decided to make myself a list of my little, yet abundant, blessings, to remind myself of God’s love for me in this time of chaos.

1) The ability to buy a house. This is something I never thought would be possible for us, especially with Robert being military, but God has provided for us in ways I never thought possible. We just have to take the tedious steps that it takes to get to closing.
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2) Beautiful little girls whose eyes and minds are so pure and innocent. In the current hecticness of life, I haven’t been taking the time, as I normally would, for extra snuggles and kisses. I have been getting frustrated with the millions of questions that toddlers ask instead of taking the time to fill their curious minds with knowledge. I am so thankful for their presence in my life and thankful that God trusts me enough to entrust them to my care. I am thankful for their love of reading, just like I have.
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3) Daddy and his girls. I never got the chance to be a daddy’s girl when I was a kid, but it was something I desperately wanted for a long time. It warms my heart to see Robert interacting with the girls, reading books, snuggling, or simply telling them how much he loves them. It’s already blatantly obvious that, in the eyes of these little girls, daddy is perfect…and it brings me to tears when I stop and look at the love between a daddy and his girls.
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4) Love. I am thankful for the example of love that Robert and I are able to give to our girls. A while back I read a quote that said, “the greatest thing a daddy can do for his kids is love their mommy.” And it hit me this afternoon when Mackenzie looked at a picture of Robert and I and said, “Mommy, you look beautiful in your dress. Aww, daddy is holding your hand. He’s so sweet to you.” I am so very thankful for a man who shows our daughters what love looks like and who takes joy in serving his family.
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5) Family. My mom and spent most of my life having a strained relationship. The last year or so, things have finally started to look up and my relationship with my mom seems to be on the mend. I am thankful for a mom and step-dad who love me unconditionally, in spite of the pain I have caused them. I am thankful that they are wonderful grandparents and that my step-dad loves me and my daughters as if we were his own. I am also very thankful to now have a relationship with my dad in spite of the pain he caused our family when I was younger.

6) Dogs. We have two awesome dogs who love us probably more than we love them. They are protective and sweet all at the same time and the puppy has even taken to sleeping in the hallway, right in front of the girls’ rooms, to protect them.
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This list is by no means complete. I’m sure there a million more things that I could add here, but now my sweet girls are up from their naps and I’m going to go have some play time 🙂


Rivers of Life

A few weeks ago I read that the lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing. God has placed many people in my life who have blessed me, whether they know it or not. I could go through a list of all of the people who have been a blessing to me, but quite frankly, I don’t think we have the time for that. So really, I just want to elaborate on a few things.

I have been attending Celebrate Recovery for 11 months now. It is a ministry that has changed my life and I constantly thank God for the ministry itself and for the people it has brought into my life. CR is the first place I’d ever been in my life where I felt safe. No judgment. No criticism. No condemnation. No rejection. Just acceptance, love, encouragement, and support. It’s a wonderful and amazing place where I have learned to be able to share the hurts in my life with other hurting people.

Among the wonderful people I have met, there’s one woman who stands out above the rest. A woman who has encouraged me and been a blessing since the first day I met her. There was something about this woman on our first meeting that made me think, “I need to know this woman; there is something about her that I want…joy and peace. I want that!” Without saying a word, she quickly took all the misconceptions I had about God and shattered them by showing me love. She helped turn this agnostic in a believer. She encouraged me and motivated me, just by her actions.

Hebrews 13:7 – Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

My point is that she has blessed my life more than she will ever know. I have often prayed before that God will use me in someone else’s life the way He has used her in mine. I don’t know if it sounds selfish or not, but I’ve wanted to be able to use the past hurts in my life to support and encourage someone the way she has done for me. I don’t want my hurts to have been in vain; if I can help one person because of what I’ve been through – then it will have all been worth it. And I know that God doesn’t waste a hurt, so He will use mine. But it also may not be the way I expect to see it.

I learned something this morning that shocked my heart. It makes total, logical sense, but I guess I just never thought about it. “Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, ‘rivers of living water’ will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even ‘to the end of the earth’ regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow – ‘This is the work of God, that you believe’. God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.”

John 7:38 – Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

Like the source of a river doesn’t know where it’ll end up, we don’t necessarily know where our blessings will end up. A river is victorious, it rages through or around obstacles to complete its journey. Sometimes it can be frustrating to see God using the lives of the people around me to glorify Him and I’m left wondering, “What about me, God?” It’s moments like this that I think it’s important to remember that we need to focus on the Source of our river. We may be at an obstacle that is impeding our flow, but the Source will give us the power to go through it or push us around it. We may not see how He is using us, but it’s vital to recognize that just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

The rivers of life have unbelievable power, whether we know it or not. I think me writing a blog is a perfect example of that. WordPress tells me how many people view my blog and what countries they’re from and sometimes I find myself wondering about the people who read what I post. Because when I first started this blog, I just assumed the only people who would read would be my own family and friends. Oh, how wrong I was. God has taken my minimalistic thinking and made it bigger than I would’ve thought. I’ve had people leave me comments about how I’ve encouraged or inspired them, and my first thought is generally, “wow, really? I did that?” I think I underestimate God a lot. God didn’t give me a dream of writing without having, in advance, an audience planned out for me. He already knows who will read my blog (and if I ever quit being lazy and write my book, He knows who’ll read that too) and He knows what I’m going to write even before I write it. He knows who it will be a blessing to even if I don’t…and I guess I’m okay with that. And when I share my testimony for the first time in November (I’m already really nervous and filled with butterflies about this and it’s not for 2 more months) I know God will use it to make a difference, even if I don’t see it.

I want to be a humble person, so I’m okay with not knowing where my rivers of life extend to. I’m okay with not knowing how much of a blessing I can be in other people’s lives. Knowing those things may only cause my ego to swell. So I’m okay with letting God be in charge of things. After all, He does have a better perspective than I do.


Faith and Works

Have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely love my church, lol. Recently, I’ve begun assisting with teaching the 5th/6th grade sunday school at my church. I wasn’t sure when I began, how much I would like it or how good I would be at it. But doing it has been such a blessing in my life.

We’ve been learning about the history of ancient Israel. Which for me, is something very exciting becuase I don’t know a whole lot about it. Today, we learned about the flood and the tower of Babel. But after the lesson, what we discussed was about faith and works.

We are saved by grace, through faith, but true faith leads to works. I love when it is put like that, because for too long I thought that if God is real, I had to be good for Him to love me. I thought that my works were saved me, but I’ve come to realize that, that is a gross misconception.

Hebrews 11:1-3 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of  things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by  the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of  things that are visible

I like the definition of faith in this passage, the assurance of things hoped for. Because I my faith, I know that I have been saved by grace and that even thoguh I cannot physically see God, He is delights in giving me the things that I hope for. How amazing is it that we serve an amazing God who delights in making us happy. I’m in awe most of the time.

Hebrews 11:6-7 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God  must believe that he exists and  that he rewards those who seek him. By faith  Noah, being warned by God concerning  events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of  the righteousness that comes by faith.

One of the questions we asked the kids was, “why is faith needed?” Verse 6 pretty much tells us flat out why we need it. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. If I don’t have faith that God exists and that He loves me and wants me to draw near to Him, then what good is faith? I think we often can use the term faith too lightly and sometimes the word can lose it’s full effect. When I first because a Christian I didn’t understand the different in faith and trust. I remember saying, “I have faith in God, but I don’t know if I really trust Him.” Now I see just how flawed that logic really was. You can’t have faith if you don’t trust.

James 2:14-16 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith  but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodis that?

I think verse 14 can be really misleading. If someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? At first glance, it almost seems like it’s saying that you must have faith and works to be saved. But that is not at all what that means. It means that if your faith doesn’t transform you and lead to works, then it is not a faith that will save you.

I love the reminder that it is not my works that will save me, but my faith. I often find myself in a cycle of sin, thinking that God won’t want me unless I act better. But then I get reminded that God wants me regardless of my sin because, because of Jesus my sins have been cleaned. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see what I see, He sees a beloved daughter, who He cherishes and loves.

I love how God has changed my heart and transformed my soul. Where I used to be selfish and stingy, I am now giving and generous. I enjoy giving to others, what God has given to me. That’s faith. Works of faith don’t mean you read your Bible and hate it, you give with reluctance, you pray but don’t mean it. Works of faith means that you are motivated by God’s love and grace for you to draw closer to Him and share His love with others.


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