Monday, April 26, 2010

Making time for what matters most

As finals come, and then summer and work and classes: there just isn't enough time to get everything done.

Yet, for some there are those relationships that we force ourselves to make time for and the classes that mean a little more so we study a little harder for. It's as if we care more about the classes that have to do with our major, after all the rest are just, gen eds... And well, some people just mesh better. Right?

Well- what about our relationship with God and the time we spend with him? Constantly we are challenged and asked what would make our lives look different if someone didn't know we were a Christian. Now, I am not asking about the things like how often we go to church or what we are active in as a church body. My question lies deep within. What do we look like in what is known in the Christian body as the: "secular" world.

When asked what the greatest commandment was: Jesus stated "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

I feel what is getting harder and harder is truly loving God. I find that a lot of the time I can make time to do good works, as those should be in a response to my faith... But making time for God on a daily basis has been hard. It is something that seems to slip through the cracks with piles of homework, meetings, and other life chores to do. God just all of a sudden seems like an extra, or something that takes a little more commitment than I have time for.

Yet, deep down I know the blessing he will bestow is greater than I can ever imagine and I continue to strive to have that relationship, that time with him. I selfishly think about how uncomfortable it makes me or how it is taking sacrifice to really make full and devoted time with God. I have come to a point that I realize I don't take my faith seriously, when I look to the fact that Jesus died on the cross to carry my sin. To surrender his life come, live a life to connect with humans and the fact that I can't find time to center myself with him- disturbs me a bit. He loves me so greatly and yet I struggle and fall and he continues to love and pour love upon me.

The song This Man comes to mind. Would you take his place? It's time as a church we surround our lives around our one true living God. He will provide the passion, desire, and strength to get through the hard times and our struggle with sin and uncertainty. But the only way we are going to get through this is by acknowledging him and submitting to his will. Every day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

God's Masterpiece

“For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

Over the past week a lot of trial and struggle has come about and it has forced me to think about things that are deep down in my heart things I don't tend to uncover very often, and it seems to be placed at the most inconvenient time: the week before finals.

What really spurred this post was a comment a friend made when he stated with great anger: This world SUCKS. This isn't how he meant it to be, that comment stung a bit. He's right. It does suck and the pain and burdens and horrible feelings that we face are so entirely not of God and his original plan, how can we ever be content here?

This past day I have been just struggling with who knows what and it seems everything all at once. Trying to figure out a mountain of things in a short period of time. The end of the semester stresses rising up and facing difficult challenges and adversity. I see others who have also faced these medical crisis so to speak and how they deal with them: yet we all grow weak and weary.

It says in the bible: 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; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Yet I sit and feel the physical pain that is soon beyond description other than complete agony and I feel the utter exhaustion as my body just aches and I wonder how do I not fear? Today, I made the decision not to go to church as I really needed sleep- and I felt like the more that statement resonated with me the more I needed to hear it. We must be patient in everything, encouraging, and constantly working to be the best we can be: the best brothers and sisters in Christ, the hardest school workers and taking everything even our fight against pain as a worship of God.

When I begin to look at my reaction to my pain as a worship to God, it changes how I want to complain about it- it makes me examine why I might be going through it... It makes me challenge myself to ask if I have enough faith to clearly pray that God will provide that faith that is needed to heal the burden... If it is his will. Will I be persistent in asking and pleading on my knees for these things knowing and fully believing I will get an answer even if it isn't within the hour.

My prayer today is: "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD."Psalm 25:4-7

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A label not easily lost...

The last few weeks have been hard for me as I continue to search for who I am. Not who this disease has made me but who I am in Christ and where he wants my identity to be.

As I have graduated from treatment and have found myself a little freer in a lot of senses. My doctor released me to run on our Cross Country team, I have been running almost daily and the only restriction is that I have a lack of time! Not that I am too tired but there is just not enough daylight for all of the things I need to get done. I have really found myself wondering and thinking about the labels this disease has given me. People who know me from a distance saw me in a wheelchair, saw me struggle, saw me as the girl who just randomly started walking again. They don't know me.

Recently room draw came around and we all were allowed to pick places to live and I did not have a roommate due to the fact that everyone had kind of meshed and found people and I was kind of left out of the loop. Things rolled around and I got the potential opportunity to room with a group of Godly women who were from the Cross Country team. However, they're living in a house that's not handicapped accessible. My past came back to haunt me, and I was removed from the group and placed back in my handicap accessible room that I am currently in. This has crushed me, as I continue to seek out a life that's without label, and trust in my heavenly fathers healing in my life. I deal with the earthly trouble and trial of the label still standing.

It's not easy to go every day wondering what the next day will bring. But even more than that, it feels really lonely when you are in a place of which you are separated due to the physical limitations. There is no true understanding and there are boundaries that separate each of us. This circumstance made me realize, even when my physical battle is getting better there is still much healing, and much understanding yet to be found.

This song was recently sent to me: Whatever You're Doing and it's true, all I can do is surrender to God.. However, it feels like chaos and I don't really know how to surrender totally lately. Yet I know I have found peace.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does God Really Know WHAT he is doing?

Do you really believe that God knows exactly what he is doing in your life?

I know that for the last week I have really struggled with that and if I truly believe that God knows what he is doing and where he is going with the plans that he has. However, a story about my neighbor that was recently highlighted in a note back home made me remember. God has a purpose and a plan even in the midst of confusion.

The day was a typical day for our neighbor and she even went visiting and spending time with others. She felt good and was doing well getting closer to the date she was planning on delivering their third child, Travis. However, after a stillbirth with their second child things were being done very carefully with this baby. He was a special gift to them thus far and it was very important that everything was monitored closely.

So it would be of no surprise that when she experienced back pains, nothing like labor pains she still felt a need to get checked out. So upon the sunrise, they packed their bags and went to the hospital for what would soon unfold to be a very special day, their new son, Travis' birthday. However it wasn't quite what they expected to happen they knew she had been having back pains but along with those pains the doctors said they would be taking the baby in approximately an hour. Things moved quite quickly and then without a hitch. However the true miracle was not only the thriving three pound baby boy that was doing so well, and in just a week has been doing everything on his own including breathing. But that the umbilical cord had a knot in it. If he had grown much larger, it would have pulled the knot tighter and could have been deadly.

There was silence in the potentially brewing storm and above all, Travis had a father in heaven looking down with love. We all have prayed over this little man's life and God continues to have a purpose in everything. The pain that was unexplained, the little things here and there- they add up and though we may not be able to see the surface explanation. There is a reason even in our greatest confusion.

As it says in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. It is our shield according to Ephesians 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

We must live by faith, walk by faith, and pray with the faith that God continues to answer our prayers each and every day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Complete Surrender

The last few days something has really resounded with me- and that's our authentic life we share with God. How we can relay authenticity with Him and Him alone.

I have found that I, myself hold grudges with God. He didn't answer that prayer the way I expected, or I still don't have answers to these questions. And yet it holds me into this uncomfortable area of my life. It makes me wonder if I am walking the not so logical but complete surrender filled life that I desire to walk. I am finding that people really can do harsh things and murder our hearts. However, we have to trust that God can restore, transform, and live inside even the dead man's zone of our heart. As we battle these hard circumstances.

It has taken a lot for me to get to this point in my life. To be able to see that God is still going to provide even if there seems to be a battle ground of trouble and hard feelings. Things I don't understand will still be protected by God's love.

However, do I believe that fully? I am struggling to let that clearly be lived out. How is my life reflecting Jesus and God? In Hebrews 6:13-20 it casts down upon us that certainty of God's promise. He sealed his promise with an oath that it would not change. He is unchanging, and ever loving. My heart's desire is to understand that and live it out more.

Most of all though, it's letting go of our hearts desire and just letting God in, to edit, and transform us. He wants us to give up, to let go, and totally surrender to Him. However, surrendering doesn't look like trying to surrender- it's like a small child when they jump into their parents arms and they have total trust they don't think of anything else. They just believe their parent will catch them. There is no thought even crossing their mind that their parent won't be there. They just trust, and know it is true.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too Messy to Deal With

And so the cookie crumbles or so it seems...

I feel like once you get so close with someone or once you get so close in a friendship or relationship, it's just a matter of time before I become too much. Or the person can no longer take me. I am just a girl who is too messy to deal with my problems continue to stack on top of each other sky high.

I don't get it. I know I am the problem- but there doesn't seem to be any easy solution. Is there any relationship that can last that certain point? I don't really know if there is and if there is, I don't think that it will ever come. The pain that numbs me puts a sting in my chest and a pain deep within my soul. We keep running, running, running full speed into the ground.

I feel like I care too deeply, I am hardwired in all of the wrong places it's just a matter of time before you drop me too. Just wait and see, but please don't say "just trust me".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One Day Without Shoes

Today on my campus and across the globe... We're taking a step, quite literally to show our feelings about kids in other countries that are walking around without shoes. Partnering with TOMS shoes with a $2 donation we are able to walk in all of our classes without shoes and in any of the campus buildings. The dining commons on campus wanted to support us, but couldn't due to health regulations. So, they are making a donation for kids who find food elsewhere, or fast for the day.

Our acts of not wearing shoes for the day seem so small in the grand scheme of things. When you look at the global problem of children not having enough money to even get the basic necessities of life it's disheartening and rocks my world. I can't imagine or even fathom a day without food, clothing, and shelter, it just has never been something that I have even come close to. However, for many this is something they face on a daily basis. Watch the video, talk about it with friends, forget your shoes today... Make a donation... Whatever you can do to send a little light to this cause. I challenge you, what can you do to change your comfort zone how we can connect just even on a small scale, to our brothers and sisters in Christ that are suffering around the globe.