Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blessings in the Front Room

Blessings blast you away when you finally notice their presence. Sometimes they come like the silence in the night when all is quiet and still. When you need the warmth, it wraps around your aching body just right. Other times the blessings are hard to see. Through the fog, you make out the light that it gives, but still you cannot fully see it working.

I am sitting here in the front room of our 100 year old duplex after having cleaned all five windows. The warmth of the day is flooding the room along with a breeze. I hear sirens, cars squeaking by, continuous city sounds that happen during the day. I have boxes of office supplies waiting for a home, which I don't really have quite yet, and random arrays of just things. Outside the window there are homes very close by, with neighboring personal affects a few yards away. I am in the city. A place I didn't really think that I would be, but a place I am nonetheless.

At first I felt pretty claustrophobic here. For someone that is introverted, it sounds weird, but with all the traffic and sounds and buildings it was all rather overwhelming. Blessings abound in this place because God wants us to be here. I have no idea what kind of people we will meet or where we will go to church, but He wants us here so I am expecting an adventure. Like I said, sometimes you see the light through the fog though. Today, I am sitting here in this front room enjoying all the bright light, fresh air, and openness of what I do have. I probably am conveying this situation like its a hole in the wall situation... It is not true. I strangely, feel blessed to be where I am though it is different.

Though our humanity likes to wrap all kinds of negativity and sourness over everything, God still has blessings bursting at the seams. His beauty and care floods rooms and changes hard hearts. I could sit here and list all of the blessings that we have been given, but I feel that it would only dampen the magnitude of what we have been given. For now I just want you to know that where I am is where God wants me to be. A literal and spiritual safety that cannot compare to any security system, firearm, mean dog, special forces, or locked gate. We have freedom to roam. Freedom to embrace our talents and mission to do what He has called us to do.

Life can blast you with disaster, sneak up on you with troubles, and close in on you with worry. What God has to offer for our REAL lives, what He meant for us, is the complete opposite. It's life changing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Replaced Fear for REST

I have been wrestling with the idea of REST. This world is going through so much right now and even in my small world there is major change. My life has been uprooted, moved, and plopped down in the city. I know that God wants us here outside of Philly, but I have no idea what He has planned. So through this whole transition I experienced these anxieties. I feared death, loss, damage, disaster, you name it. When in conversations with groups of people talking about ISIS or Ebola, there has been talk of Christ's coming. It all has become very real to me, making me feel this vulnerable fear.

The unknown is kind of hard to deal with on my own. I like predictability and routine, despite the idea that I think I would like spontaneous moments. Human, really is all I am. REST. The idea of just relaxing sounds so good doesn't it? While I was dealing with this fear deep in my bones, I realized that I didn't have the relationship I thought I had with Christ. I remembered that if I had Him close by my side, I would not fear death, pain, or disaster. I would also be able to face what the future has to hold for this world. With Christ so deep inside of my heart, I would be unwavering and deemed a child in His court, even if it meant giving up my life.

I wanted a definition and a feeling for what I was trying to search out. Thankfully I have been studying the book of Hebrews, which convienently talks about REST in chapters 3 and 4. While reading I noticed the vague concept linked with Sabbath so I did a little more digging. I wanted to understand the contradiction that seemed to be occuring with other biblical texts about the seventh day being the Sabbath of God. Inadvertantly I found what God had to say about REST. That undeniable REST. 

The author pointed out that Israel initially failed at obtaining a literal rest. They gave up Canaan, flowing with milk and honey, for their rebellion. Even after that first generation past, the next failed, under the direction of Joshua, at gaining spiritual rest even when they reached Canaan. A third time God invited Israel into His rest in the days of David, but their hearts were SO hard. Also the author pointed out that God Himself had a literal rest from all He had done at the end of the creation week. After these points had been made regarding the importance of rest, I realized that God is still pleading with me (and you) to enter His rest.

This time, today, He wants to give more than literal rest. He wants to give us a spiritual rest from the sins we are under. He wants us to stop working so hard at obtaining righteousness on our own. He wants us to come BOLDLY before His throne of grace. Those callouses need to come off. We need to spend all of our energies on finding that rest. We need to make it our ambition and lifestyle. So how do we obtain this rest? 

When it says to come boldly before the throne of grace, that means we need to come into the presence of God. We have to take the time to know Him, deeply. We have to walk through out the day thinking and breathing what He has to say. Our minds need to be open to His words. I just discovered this and want to know what it can do for my life. Why would God set one day a week aside for rest or why would Jesus say that His yoke is easy and His burden is light? God knows that we cannot handle this world on our own. We can't even handle ourselves! In what way has His REST changed your life?

Here is a song that made me think of this discovery, by Mercy Me:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Warrior Instead of Worrier

Trying to escape the inability to keep my mind steadfast, it is like a baby trying to stand on its feeble legs to walk. I wake up in the middle of the night suddenly, worrying about a list of items. I actually lay there wide eyed marking the issues individually, struck by fear. I  cannot fall back to sleep because for some reason those issues are larger than life. Why do I let this consume me then?

There are so many times where God has noticably come through for me. Maybe that isn't even the best way to describe it. The problem is I don't come through for Him. He does not want me to feel guilty about it, He just wants me to do something about it. He asks me to remain still, breathe, and listen for His voice. I have to pick up a new list and realize how much more power it contains. 

That list has all of the times and seasons God blessed me. He gave me the courage and ability to become confident again as a woman, not just as a child. He gave me a husband who is forgiving, a follower of Him, a giver, and knows how to lay aside the worry and make me laugh. He provided us with the ability to not only have a home but have the funds to make the purchase. Our home was warm in winter and the summers we had the ability to enjoy a pool to cool down. He helped me with my anger issues and impatience. He sold our home at just the right time even though we had to wait 3 months and provided just the right place to live in return afterwards. The church he provided while here has been a great blessing and I will miss my brothers and sisters in Christ. I love my bible study group comprised of a wide range of woman from differnet walks of life. I woulld not trade what I learned in that group for anything. I will miss them all so much, but know that there will come a day when we will not have to part. God gives me breathe each morning and gives me opportunities to see His beauty and signatures. I cannot continue to remain fearful and despondent. 

How does one remain steadfast and keep their faith? Well, first you have to know the One that you are having faith in. You have to know the promises He gives. Even a small piece of faith can take you far. I remember asking God to provide a way for me to stay home so that I could one day be there with my children. I  knew that that was something He wanted for me and my future offspring so I asked Him to work it out. I knew He would, though I did not know how He would do it. I prayed for all the avenues that it could be possible and just worked on ways that I could improve so I could potentially stay at home. 

For now God has answered my prayer, from what I can see. I say it this way because He might not be done with answering my prayer. He might have something even greater in mind that my heart cannot even describe or discover. I now have the ability to stay home with my future offspring. Chris and I do not expect to live extravagant lives and where is the creativity in that anyways? I intend to live an unexpected life. I intend to live a life that the world does not consider success or what a woman should be. What I do intend to be is a woman of God who is confident in her husband, dutiful and successful in raising a family committed to Him. I intend to invest my home in a great commission and remain out of debt as much as possible. Our home will be a fortress.

So, as you can see I need to be steadfast. I cannot contain the fear that I so often possess. I am human, but I have Someone greater as my Guide and Counselor to help me grow out of my baby legs and walk like a woman of God. My wish is that more and more women see the importance of being a warrior for HIm instead of a worrier. If He can do that for me, He can most certainly do that for you.