Tag Archives: suffering

Drowning

Life as a Christian is not all sunshine and roses. There are definite struggles. Just because I have a deep joy and hope that I am saved through the grace of God, I still have very real and very hard issues in my life…and quite often, I feel like I’m drowning.

“Drowning”…that was the title of the sermon at church today. Today’s sermon was one of those where I personally felt like my pastor was speaking directly to me, like God put every word he spoke into his mouth because I needed to hear it…it was actually a bit eerie.

The past few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been drowning – like I’ve been crying out to a God who hasn’t been listening – like no matter what I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to get my head above water to catch a breath.

Psalm 69:1-3 –  1Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

Drowning should drive me to prayer. It’s weird, sometimes when my life seems to be falling apart and the control freak inside of me is panicking because I can’t hold it all together, sometimes I don’t want to go to God because I am angry or frustrated with Him because I don’t understand my circumstances. But in reality, that’s when I need to run to Him most. He wants me to bring my doubts and questions to Him. He already knows that I’m thinking them, I might as well be honest with Him about it instead of just holding onto it and letting it fester inside of me.

One thing I’ve realized about myself is that when I go to God with my doubts and my questions, when I actually form my thoughts into words, I realize how childish and selfish I’m being. I realize that I’m usually just acting like a child who isn’t getting her way. Not to say that my circumstances can’t often be frustrating or discouraging, but that I often have a bad attitude about the circumstances because they’re not how I want them.

Psalm 69:16-18 – 16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

Drowning drives me to consider my purpose. My purpose in this life is not to just be happy and live an easy life. In fact, as a Christian, it is the exact opposite. Although I will receive blessings in my life as a result of obedience to God, God also promises me that I will experience struggles and suffering – what matters is how I choose to respond to it. Am I willing to move beyond my own narrow view of myself to use my suffering to help someone else? If I will allow God to use me, if I will follow where He leads, I can turn around and use my affliction to serve others.

This is something I’ve seen mostly within Celebrate Recovery. I enjoy serving others around me and reaching out to other people who are just as broken as I was when I first came to know who Christ is. Whenever I think that God cannot use whatever my current circumstances are, he throws me into so ridiculous situation where He reminds me that I can serve others using my greatest weaknesses and struggles.

Psalm 69:32-33 – 32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

Drowning will be reversed. God will redeem me from my pain and brokenness, Jesus died to save me from my own sin. He has a plan for me and for my life. Yes, there will be struggles and suffering, but He is still there with me. He still hears my prayers and catches my tears. I simply have to trust Him.  

One of the things my pastor said this morning that really stuck out to me was: when I feel alone, like God isn’t hearing my prayers, think of my baptism and what that resembles. In baptism, the old me had to die so the new me could have life…the old me has been drowned and the new me lives.

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Help Me Find It

I recently heard the song Help me Find it by Sidewalk Prophets and I think this song describes where I am right now.

“If theres a road I should walk, help me find it
And if I need to be still, give me peace for the moment
Whatever your will, whatever your will
Can you help me find it”

I often worry over what direction God wants me to take and I think I often forget that sometimes I just need to be still and lean on Him. I think, right now, God is trying to get me to learn how to lean on Him and depend on Him.

This is just my opinion, but I think that if all of us would trust and lean on God more, we would all be a lot happier.

The last few days, I have busied myself with cleaning, cooking, laundry, friends, kids, and just about anything else I could to avoid the pain. I simply don’t want to feel the pain. This is the only way that I’ve ever known how to deal with hurt/pain in my life. I never learned how to successfully fail or suffer. So now, as an adult – a wife and mom, I am having to learn how to endure pain while not shutting the world out and how to experience hurt without shutting out the pain.

My prayer now, is that God will help me find out how to do that.


God’s Puzzle

Maybe it’s just because I just visited a third world country or maybe my attitude is changing. But I don’t understand why so many people are so negative about everything. We have so much to be thankful and happy for and too often we take it all for granted.

When I first started talking to my dad, he asked me a few times, “is getting angry/complaining about it really going to help you or make you feel better?” And to be honest, the question drove me insane for a while because of course it wouldn’t make me feel better but if I had every right to be mad then why shouldn’t I be mad? I couldn’t understand people who were just happy all the time, life is not always good so how can anyone always be happy?

Well I think I get it now. It’s really easy not to be negative, esspecially in the hard times, when I remember that I have a God who knows and loves me and who has plans for me – plans to prosper and not despair (Jeremiah 29:11). I mean, if you fully understand the impact of that on your life, then what is there to be sad about? I can’t think of anything.

For a long time I was so negative about almost everything. I had a hard time finding things in life to be happy about. I couldn’t see how the puzzle pieces of my life could possibly fit into the bigger puzzle of the world.

But now, I think I can see it. If God created the world as a giant puzzle and everyone’s life was a certain number of puzzle pieces, I can see now how the puzzle pieces of my life can fit into God’s puzzle of the world. I had to experience life without my dad, I had to experience the pain that I went through. If I hadn’t been through the things that I have then I wouldn’t be able to help people in the way God wants me to. I believe that God wants to use me to help kids learn that the way they view their parents should not impact the way they view God – and how could I successfully do that if I had lived any other life?

God has a sense of humor sometimes in the way He shows us how everything in the world all fits together for His glory.

So yeah, there are things in my life that I can legitimately be sad or angry about….but what’s the point? Why bother being sad when God’s got it under control? Why bother being stressed when God’s plans will trump mine? Why bother being angry when God, who is just, will take care of things?

The world’s not perfect, but God is. Which one makes more sense to put my faith in?


A totally unrelated thought and poem

1 Peter 3:8-17 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

I think what really hits me the most is realizing what I am and what I am not in comparison. Why do we have to be told to be all those things? Because, as a fallen man, we are naturally NOT like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, or humble. We are, naturally, a human race who finds it okay to fight, criticize and insult one another, to put others down and be mean and hateful, and to have hard, closed off hearts.

I’m also kind of glad that we touched on the issue of unjust suffering. I think that, that has been one of my biggest hurdles to overcome in my walk with Christ. I have suffered through quite a few things in my life that were far beyond my control and although some of those things may have been brought upon by my own sin, there are still many situations in my past that were simply unjust and the suffering I endured because of it was completely unfair. I know that we have all heard the say “life’s not fair, get over it,” but what about when that unfairness leads a child to suffer? Verse 13 made me mad the first time I read it, who is going to harm me? The first time I read that, I literally laughed and said, “Should I make a list?” But tonight, I began to see that verse in a different view. Someone pointed out, that if we read that verse in a rhetorical sense, as in WHO is going to harm me and the answer being Satan, who is he compared to God. What can Satan do to me that God cannot overcome?

So now what I need to do is keep my eyes focused on what Jesus has done for me, because in that I have so much hope. And you don’t realize how amazing hope is unless you’ve lived without it. When you live without hope, your life is not complete. A hopeless life is almost like a half-life, it’s a mere existence.

As we were discussing this tonight, I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart strings. This is, yet another, place where I realize what an amazing thing it is that Jesus did for us. Because I am new to all of this, I sometimes wonder if I am misinterpreting or misunderstanding some things and I am so thankful to have this wonderful group of people in my life to help me to make sense of it all. The great love, grace, and mercy that God has shown seems so overwhelming andI often stand in wonder of all that He’s done for me.

 

 

The Search
Her story began in a place with no father
And life’s not the same for a fatherless-daughter
As a child she wondered, who would ever love?
The brokenness in her heart, would she rise above?
She had lost her way before age thirteen
And ended up with a story, most wouldn’t believe
She begged for a savior to be by her side
Wanted daddy to love her, to be her guide
She pleaded for mercy, and hoped he would hear
The cries of despair, from the depths of her fear

Mistakes had stolen time that she couldn’t have back
Still he hadn’t saved her and still the years passed

As the years went on, she quit hoping for him
The dream of a daddy was lost in the wind
She turned her attentions to finding a man
One who would save her from a failing plan
But time after time, her hopes were shattered
Leading her to believe that her life didn’t matter
Rejected and shamed, she was lost in a life
Where nothing made sense and nothing felt right
So she took drastic steps to end her own pain
The selfish attempts to carve out the rain

Mistakes had stolen time that she couldn’t have back
Still he hadn’t saved her and still the years passed

Love, life, and time filled her empty space
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” was easy to say
She was still broken, her soul was half empty
Little girls and their daddy, the target of envy
She made a vow, she had to find
The daddy she had, who missed all the time
The times she was hurt, times she was scared
And times all she needed, was to know that he cared
But her search didn’t stop when she felt his hug
He had embraced her with a greater love

Mistakes had stolen time that she couldn’t have back
But a Savior had saved her and put the past in the past
Her father, she now knows, hadn’t missed a tear
He had caught every one and saved them through the years
He had held her hand when she thought she was alone
And with a Savior by her side, she finally feels at home


Whom should I trust?

Last night’s Bible study was amazing. 1 Peter 2:13-25 is a life changing passage. So what did I learn? I learned something I already knew but that I haven’t been able to fully understand which has hindered me from fully trusting in Him.

1 Peter 2:19 – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

You know, it’s almost hard to wrap my head around the fact that God is telling me I am going to suffer, I have to suffer. My struggles in life are what turned me away from God to begin with, so to know that my suffering will bring me closer to God is almost breathtaking.

Next, I started thinking, if I had never suffered and been broken I would’ve never turned to God. God used my suffering to bring me closer to Him. What a wonderfully faithful God we serve!!

In my suffering, I have been blessed. Now I can thank God for the things that have gone wrong in my life.

Rejoice in Suffering
I’ve often wondered
God, What have I done?
Rejecting you for so long
Then I remember Your Son
He showed an example
Of how I should live
The things I should sacrifice
And what I must give
He showed me how to suffer
In God’s glorious name
And to praise the One
Who casts out my shame
So in my suffering
I will rejoice
For the safety I’ve found
In the sound of Your voice


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