2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New International Version (NIV)

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Count Your Blessings

BLESSINGS FROM THE SKYImage by d ha rm e sh via Flickr
After reading my last few post I came to the realization that my blog seems a bit dreary lately.  All of the talk of all the bad things going on around me, despair, desperation, hurt, anguish, pain. It kind of got me feeling down, even through I always try to find a way around to see God's bigger plan, sometimes its hard to see it at all.

Never doubt that I don't see blessings around me everyday.  Even though it usually takes the darkest moments in our lives to see the true work and character of God, we cannot forget Him when the blessings flow.  We cannot forget Him when all of our dreams come true, we cannot forget Him when we think we have everything we need or want.  

So my post today will be of happy thoughts, because although this world seems more bad then good, it is because that is what we choose to see.  Without the good things, this life would be pointless.  Without love, hope and dreams, we have nothing.  

I praise God for the gifts that he has given to me. I praise him for the ability to share my feelings with you.  I praise him for the wonderful children he has given me, my husband, my home, my job.  Even though sometimes I wish I could change things, I know that things could be worse. When I hate my job, I am thankful that I have a job.  When my kids drive me crazy, I remember that they are truly blessings from God.  When the finances are getting tight, I am thankful for the roof over my head and the food on the table.  The simple things that we take for granted every single day are the things that we should be the most thankful for.

We have to choose to see the blessings in our life.  If we dwell on all the bad then we get consumed with it and that is all that we see.

So today I urge you to take a moment, take a breath and count your blessings.  Choose to see what God has done in your life.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)24 " ' "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." '

Psalm 121:7-8 (NIV)7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Different Kind of Normal

Description unavailableMy dad hasn't really been himself lately.  Actually he hasn't been himself in a really long time.  I guess we thought the worst part was over with his cancer in remission, but it seems as is the worst is ahead of us.Image by *Zara via Flickr He has been in a lot of pain lately.  Pain that they think is caused not by the cancer but from the treatment for the cancer.  The aftereffects of such a harsh treatment for such a horrid disease.  He has severe headaches, pain in his head and neck.  He has been suffering from mood swings, weakness.  His blood pressure drops suddenly without any warning.  All of this is aftereffects from his treatment.  Sometimes I wonder what is worse, the disease or the treatment.  Sometimes I wonder why he has to go through any of this at all.  Sometimes I wonder how much God will allow one person to take, when it seems that they are only hanging on by a thread.

Its hard for me to watch him go through this,  I can only imagine for my mom it must be unbearable. It is really hard watching someone you love suffer.  It is even harder when you are helpless to do anything. Its hard watching them turn into a different version of themself.  A different kind of normal.  A normal that takes so much to get used to.  A normal that you wish just didn't exist.  Wishing you could go back and get back what you once lost, but that is impossible.

But the one thing that I keep reminding myself is that he is still here!!!! And for that I know that God has him here for a reason.  I may not understand why but I have to trust that God has something great in store for him and my mom too.  I know it is their faith that keeps them going, I just hope they never forget that God does see and He does hear them and He knows just how much they can take.  They just have to trust Him, for He will give them the strength that they think is impossible.

Psalm 118:5 (NIV) 5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.


Psalm 31:7-8 (KJV) 7I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; 8And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Psalm 22:24 (KJV)  24For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

2 Corinthians 1:5 (KJV) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Never Alone

Never Alone // Hebrews 13:5Image by db photographs via Flickr
The other evening I wasn't feeling well,  actually I was in a lot of physical pain.  It was 1:00 in the morning and I couldn't take it anymore.  I told my husband that I was in a lot of pain and was going to the hospital.  I was too impatient to keep waking him until he understood, so I left and drove myself.   (He did show up later.) 

I didn't want to call my mom and scare her in the middle of the night, she has been dealing with so much lately with my dad.  I didn't want to add anything else to her already stress filled plate.  My sister had enough of her own problems and had work the next day. 

So I toughed it out and got in my car and drove myself.  I just prayed the whole way that God would keep me from passing out from the pain.  I got there ok, checked myself in and was waiting in my "room".  I felt so alone.  The drive there and now the stay.  There was nobody there.

Then I realized that I wasn't alone.  Not during my drive and certainly not during my stay.  I felt God's presence with me.  He had been there the whole time, holding my hand.  I suddenly felt overwhelmingly comforted, even though I was a little dramatic during my stay.  But through it all God never left my side.  He was there when I was terrified waiting to find out what was wrong.  While I had my blood drawn, while I had my x-rays taken.  While I was worrying, God was holding my hand.  My husband did show up shortly after I was admitted.  So I didn't spend the whole time alone.  But during those moments where my husband wasn't there I know He was.

Sometimes even "Christians" feel alone.  Sometimes it feels like there is nobody.  Nobody to count on, nobody to turn to. Nobody to lean on when things get bad.   But, no matter what our situation, no matter what is going on, always remember YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!!!!

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

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Monday, October 18, 2010

What Will People Think?

Jesus Freak (song)Image via Wikipedia
When I first thought about becoming a "Christian" or better put, when I first thought about giving my life to God,  one of the first things that crossed my mind was "what would people think?"  I was worried about what others would say or call me behind my back, or even to my face.  I didn't want to be labeled as a "Holy Roller" or some type of "Goodie, Goodie", or even worse "Jesus Freak." I didn't want people to laugh and make fun of me. 

I guess a part of me always worried about what people thought of me.  What would happen if they didn't want to be around me anymore?  What is they stopped talking to me?

So,  I thought maybe I would just keep things to myself for awhile.  But, somethings I just couldn't hide.  I stopped drinking, I no longer wanted to go out to bars.  There were a lot of things that I just wasn't interested in doing anymore. My whole attitude started to change.  I was becoming the labels that I had dreaded.

But the closer I got to God, the less it mattered. When you give your life to God, you change.  Everything changes.  Things that were just so important to you aren't anymore.  You begin to care less and less about what people think about you.  Eventually you don't care at all what people think.  You set your sights on things above and see you life here on earth as temporary.  You begin to see people through God's eyes.  When you give your life to God, you worry less and less about this world and the labels they may give you. 

These days I will gladly wear the title of "Jesus Freak",  "Holy Roller" or what ever other label one may give me.  If that label means that they know Who I follow, and Who I have given my life to, then they can call me anything they want.

Philippians 3:20 (KJV) 20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Worry Too Much

Worry or Prayer on 23 January 2010 - day 23 of...Image by Leonard John Matthews via Flickr
I hate going to the doctor, although I always seem to be going to the doctor.  I am a hypochondriac.  I worry about everything.  Every little ache and pain I think it is something serious.

Well, today I had a doctors appointment.  It was a follow up appointment, but I had to have an ultrasound on my kidneys.  Last year I had a kidney infection and been having problems on and off since.  So as I am waiting for what seems to be years on my results I start worrying.  Everything and anything starts going through my head.  Worst case scenario.  Preparing myself for horrible news. 

The truth is I haven't really been having that many problems lately, it was just a routine follow up.  A just to make sure its not something more serious appointment.  An appointment that was scheduled six weeks prior because it wasn't any kind of rush or concern. Yet, there I was worrying, my heart was racing, I couldn't think straight. What was taking so long?  I felt like I was waiting forever. I just kept praying that nothing was wrong and if it was that God give me the strength to get through whatever was ahead. In the end everything was fine.  There was nothing that I needed to worry about.

I started to think what am I doing?  I kept saying it was in God's hands but that didn't really keep my from going crazy with worry.  Why didn't I trust Him enough with this little thing?  Why didn't I trust Him with something that wasn't even a concern?

Even "Christians" faith sometimes fall short.  We are good at telling others to have faith, to put it in God's hands.  But yet when it comes to us, we still worry.  And I worry about things that I don't even need to  worry about.

There is nothing that comes to us that doesn't go through God's hands first.  He is holding it in His hands and only allows enough to fall on us while He carries the rest.  We need not worry because God will always see us through, even with the little things, especially with the big things.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)  7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 16:8 (KJV) 8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hide Away

Hiding IconImage via Wikipedia
Today was one of those days that I just wanted to hide away from the world.  It wasn't that I was having a bad day, in fact the day was pretty decent.  I got off of work early, had about half an hour of me time.

It wasn't just one thing in particular, just so many little things altogether.  So many things that have been building up with no release.

Its hard when you feel like you have no one to talk to, like there is no one who understands.  You keep things inside and try to hide away. We think that will solve our problems.  But, problems build up and sooner or later they surface and then you are not able to hide away any longer.

The truth is, we can hide away from the world.  We can stay in our own little bubble and bother no one. We can walk this earth  quietly and no one will notice. But we can't hide away from God.  There is no where, where He cannot find us.  He will never lose us, we can only run away from Him.  God is never lost, only we are.  We can try to hide, but there is no point when it comes to God.  Its a game of hide and seek that we will never win.  No matter where we hide, or how quiet we are,  He will always find us.

He knows our problems, He knows what we are keeping to ourselves. He has seen all that we have done and all we will do. He wants to take our burdens from us, if only we would let Him.  He holds us in His hands. So whats the point in hiding away?

Matthew 10:26 (KJV) 26Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

Psalm 139:15-18 (KJV)15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Despair

Inside of EmptinessImage by Dude Crush via Flickr
There are moments here lately when I feel so empty, so broken beyond repair.  I feel like I just don't have it in me.  To write, to believe, to live.  I am exhausted, I am tired, I am sick of trying.  I am empty.  Between these moments there is joy, but at any given moment the emptiness sets in again and I am right back at where I started.

It is easier to pretend then to deal with what is going on.  I put a smile on my face and pretend everything is ok. I hold back the tears and literally push myself forward. 

I can barely move, every stroke of the keys takes so much effort, so much out of me.  I can barely breathe, every word I utter leaves me gasping for air, every thought leaves me exhausted.  Am I really this broken? Am I really this damaged? With so much around me, am I really this empty?

I just don't have it in me to fight, to stand my ground. The only word for my condition is despair. Despair about my life, my future, my hopes and my dreams. How did I get here Lord?  Where have you gone?

Even "Christians" have moments of despair.  More often then they would like to admit.  Moments of doubt, disbelief.  Moments of complete dismay. Moments where they just fight to  breathe.  The only difference is Who they turn to in their moments of despair.  I have nights where I literally fall asleep talking to God.  Exhausted from the day, I talk to Him through the night. He is the only one who gives me the comfort I am longing for, the peace that I need to make it through another day. 

When you are in despair, it is only God who can give you the strength to stand up again. Only He can fill the void.

2 Corinthians 4:8, 18 (NIV)- 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Loves Like A Hurricane

David Crowder: How He Loves
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
Another one for valentines day 'True Love' On ...Image via Wikipedia

I take a lot of comfort in knowing that God loves me this much.  Like a hurricane.  Have you ever been through a hurricane?  I have, I do live in South Louisiana, you know.  Hurricanes are powerful forces capable of destroying everything in its path.  When you see footage of hurricanes and they trees that can barely withstand the wind.  Some fall and some stay standing. I am the tree that stays standing, bending but standing.

God's love for us is force to be reckoned with. A love so powerful, a love so filled with grace, mercy and compassion. He sees us as we are supposed to be not as we are, imperfect I mean. His grace and glory consume me.  He is the love of my life. Sometimes I can just close my eyes and feel His presence.  I feel Him surrounding me with his love.

But He is a jealous God.  He puts nothing before us, and He only asks of us the same.  He doesn't want to come second to anything else in your life. He risked everything for us, He loves us that much.  As I type this I am taken back at the realization that God puts nothing before us.  He will move Heaven and Earth for us.  He is waiting patiently for us.  He listens to every word we speak, He holds every tear we cry.  He has always been there at our side.  He is jealous for me.

I know I keep posting over and over about God's love, but that is because its God's love.  Don't think you are not good enough.  Don't think it is impossible. Don't think that you can never be loved.  For this is the greatest love you will ever know.

Exodus 20:5-6 (NIV)5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

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My Very 1st Blogger Award

I wrote a post about it on Confessions of a Crazy Mommy if you would like to check it out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Strangely Dim

Heaven is a place on earthImage by alles-schlumpf via Flickr
Here lately, I find myself feeling sorry for myself. More often then I would like to say.  You know the "poor me"  attitude.  When things never seem to go our way, when everything seems to go wrong.  When our finances look meek,  when our life looks bland.  There is always a reason for us to feel sorry for ourselves.

I don't have this, I can't afford that.  I get mistreated at work, at home, by my family.  The list goes on and on.  We love to give ourselves a pity party, it makes us feel better.

So what do you do? Well, we can spend a lot of time feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can do something about it. The truth is life isn't fair. And while we are having our little pity party there are others who have things much worse than we ever will.  Everyone has something difficult to deal with.  Sometimes we focus so much on what we don't have, that we forget everything we do.

One thing we need to remember is, it is not about this life.  We need to keep our focus on things above, not things on this earth.  The things of this earth are only temporary.  But God has promised us more then we could ever imagine.  He has promised us a perfect future, an eternal life with no pain, no trouble, no sorrow.  No worrying about what we will eat, where we will sleep.  No bills, no financial issues.  God has taken care of it all.  All you have to do is believe in Him. 

Things of this earth may seem so appealing.  We want, we want, we want. Compared to what God has promised, the things of this earth look strangely dim, unappealing and unnecessary.  I've got bigger plans and I need to start investing in that.  This world has nothing for me.  I have set my sights on things above.  Now to patiently wait for Christ's return.

So what are you investing in?

Colossians 3:1-2 (KJV)1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

John 14:1-4 (NIV)1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus, Helen H. Lemmel, 1922
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Church is for Sinners

[Hitterdals Church, Telemarken (i.e, Telemark)...Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr
When I was growing up my mom used to always tell me that church is for sinners. It used to drive me crazy because I didn't quite understand what she was talking about. I remember an incident in particular happened with certain members of our church and I said to my mother that I couldn't believe that they were still coming to church after all of that, she  told me "Church is for sinners." Her comment made me so angry, what was that supposed to mean?

It goes back to my ideals as a child, I always thought that church was for perfect people, a place where sinless people congregate to worship a perfect God. I was way off?

However, my ideals as a child are close to  a lot of ideals of many adults.  There are a lot of people that think the way I thought when I was a child.  They talk about other's sins, turn their noses up.  Point out other's sins, other's stumbling blocks.  Then I realized that they are just sinners too.  Maybe they just don't realize it.

Church is for sinners.  It a place for imperfect people to worship a perfect God.  A God that loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, to save us.  Why is there so much controversy at church, because what else is going to happen when you get a whole bunch of self righteous sinners together?  No offense.  Not everybody is like that, but you will find some. 

Church is a place where we can meet God, where we can feel God.  A place where we gather with others like us, who share in the same burdens, the same struggles.  Its a place where we should feel at peace.  A place where we belong.  So often it is not the case.  But we much always remember that church is for sinners. That way we don't become one of those, like me when I was a child, like me now.

Faith in itself is for sinners.  The faith in Someone who can completely transform us in to the person we are supposed to be.  The faith that one day we will be sinless.  The faith that that we are loved regardless of whether we sin or not.

The truth is God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner.  He loves me. Don't not go meet Him, because you think you are not good enough.  He made this place for you.  Come as you are!!

Romans 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
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