Thursday, May 25, 2017

Immediately

I've spent the last few mornings reading and studying from Mark 5: 21-43, the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and the story of bringing back Jarius' daughter from the dead. I've spent this week trying to dive deeper into the story and I've learned so much. One word keeps jumping out to me. Immediately.

During my infertility struggle, I loved the story of the woman with the issue of blood. I tried to have that kind of faith, that if I could just touch His robe, my body would be healed and I would be able to have a baby. I like to believe that would've work, but God had different plans in mind. Looking into adoption changed my life. I met some amazing people. Even after our adoption fell through, I was able to remain friends with birthmom C. And, given the divorce, I am for once grateful we didn't have children so I could be completely free of my ex.

The woman had been seeing doctors for 12 years! She had poured all her money into treatments, but nothing worked. I can only imagine her hopelessness at this point. She was considered unclean. How great her faith must have been to go out in the crowd and touch His robe. It should have made Him unclean. But instead, He made her clean, immediately. I can imagine her joy that moment she felt her body healed.

Jesus knew He had been touched, and He knew who had done it. But He still called out and asked who had touched him. He didn't do this to call attention to himself; I think He did it to remind her. So if she ever started to doubt, she would remember that moment.

In the midst of this, Jesus was on his way to the home of Jarius where his daughter lay very ill. How did he react when Jesus paused his journey to help another? Before Jesus could get to the home, word arrived that the daughter had died. Jarius had to have been devastated. What if Jesus hadn't stopped? Maybe He could have arrived in time to save his daughter.

But Jesus told him not to fear. Fear and faith can not exist together. You can let fear destroy your faith. Or you can let faith overcome your fear. Jarius must have chosen the later, because they continued on to his home.

The girl was dead, but Jesus spoke to her and told her to get up. No one on earth can talk to a dead person and have them obey. Dead is dead. But when Jesus spoke, the girl immediately arose and got up to walk around. Only Jesus can call a person back from the dead.

I've learned a few things from these stories that took place at the same time.
-Jarius lost his daughter and was about to enter a dark time of grief in his life. The woman was out of options on how to be healed.
-Jarius was a man of importance. The woman was a nobody. She's not even mentioned by name.
-Jarius was probably rich, given his status. The woman had spent all her money on doctors and had to have been poor.
-Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
-Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch his robe.
-Jesus responded to the woman immediately. His response for Jarius was delayed.
-Jarius' daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly.
-For both of them, once Jesus acted, healing was instant.

Immediately the woman was healed, even though doctors had tried for 12 years to help her. Immediately the girl came back from the dead.
Immediately our sins are forgiven when we offer them up to the cross. Its not like God says, "let me think about it and get back to you in a week." Once we chose to fully surrender to Him, he receives us immediately.

Not all miracles come immediately, but God is always working. I've had this conversation with two different people in the last 24 hours, so I feel the need to share it here. Wether you get your miracle immediately, or if its delayed, God is always in control. Four years ago, I wanted to purchase a different home, but it didn't work out. That's because God knew that I would need the home I have now with a payment I could afford once I was on my own. Two and a half years ago, He led me to a little church, knowing how much I would need that family in my life this last year.

Don't lose faith. Your blessing is coming. It might take time, but it could also happen immediately. Keep the faith and trust God.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

May I Never Lose the Wonder of Your Mercy

Today, in Sunday School, we each took a moment to talk about when we first gave our hearts to God. I still tear up each time I think about my Noel moment. As I sat there, waiting for my turn, I realized, there is no one word to describe it. I don't think I could string together a sentence to describe it. It was relief, forgiveness, mercy, and love all wrapped up together in one moment when I realized that God truly loved me.

Each moment since has been just as incredible. I look back at the last 7 months, the last year, and I am in awe at all He has done for me. At how my God, my Savior, my Strength, has carried me through all the storms the enemy has thrown at me. I could not have done it without Him.

We all stumble and fall, but with God's grace and mercy, we can get back up. Don't let Satan knock you off track. Stand firm in Christ. I feel like I lost and that has been the hardest thing to deal with. I prayed for my marriage. I prayed for my husband. I did all I could, but in the end, I wasn't enough.

Just days before he left, I could not get this song out of my head. Over and over I kept singing it, clinging to Jesus. I didn't know what was coming, but He did. He knew my world was about to be shattered. He was drawing me close, preparing me.


He has restored my joy, but He also knows the burden I still carry. Guilt over what I could have done differently. Sorrow over what I lost. So many times, I have felt like I lost. I was in a battle that I couldn't win and I carry that shame with me. I did all I could, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

Satan attacked, and he may think he won, but I serve a God that is much higher than him. They hung my Savior on the cross and killed him. But 3 days later, He rose from the grave and conquered death. He took my sins and washed them clean with His blood. The darkness will never win because I serve a God who is full of love, mercy and light.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Weakness

Four months ago, I went to church in my pj's. My husband had left me and my world was falling apart. The only thing I knew was that I needed Jesus. My pastor has always said to come as you are, and that is just what I did. I came that day completely broken. There was no other place I wanted to be, except in His presence.

As I sat in the same pew today, I was in awe at all He has done for me. I thought my husband leaving me would kill me. But Jesus sustained me and carried me. As I thought back to that day, I am amazed at how far I have come. Jesus has healed my broken heart and restored my joy. I am His completely.

I know I have shared this verse before, but I keep coming back to it. 2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. "


At my weakest, He drew me closer to His glory. I am amazed by His love every day, but it was at my lowest I was able to see just how fully and completely He loves me. It was at my weakest that I realized just how strong and powerful He is. Because of my weakness, I was more fully able to see just how wonderful He is. 

For weeks, Jesus was the very air I breathed. I would've never survived without Him. At my darkest point, I cried out to Him, and He saved me. I not only survived, but I feel like I have thrived these last few months. He took everything broken inside of me and restored it. I can never sing His praise enough for all He has done for me. 

I give all the credit to God. I hope as others look at me, they see His light in me. When they wonder how I was able to turn it all around and find my joy, despite the pain, I hope they can see His Glory and Joy inside of me. 

Without Him, I would be lost. But His Grace and Mercy are new each day. I wouldn't have survived without Him. He is my Strength, my Comforter, my Prince of Peace. He carried me through the storm and safely to the shore on the other side. He is always faithful. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Joy

A month ago, my cry was "my heart, my heart." But now my heart proclaims, "my joy, my joy!"
My soul, it sings. My heart is full of love. I owe all thanks to my Lord, my Creator. 

He has carried me these last few months. Not once, did He abandon me and leave me alone. He has been my constant companion.

My soul sings of the love He has for me.

 His grace and His mercy have redeemed me.

His unfailing love has saved me.

 He has made me whole. 
  

I am beyond beautiful in His sight. That He would love one such as me is beyond my imagination. 

Which each breath, my soul thanks Him. Which each heartbeat, my heart thanks Him. 

 He is my God, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Deliverer, my Healer, my Joy, my Everything.

He has healed my broken heart. He has restored my joy to overflowing. 

Because of Him, I can sing, I can laugh, I can smile. He is always faithful. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

He Knows

I went out with some friends tonight. It was nice. Actually, I go out with friends at least once a week. Its good to get out of the house and feel normal. I've even adopted myself into a family. I probably spend more time with them than anyone else. I feel loved and welcome there; because they are so focused on Jesus, its where I always feel the most peace. I'm sure that is why I love them so much. They have the peace of God and that is the peace I need right now. Its the peace I always need.
 

Earlier this month, I hit rock bottom. I've only told one person just how bad it was, but I'm sure others have guessed. I reached the point where I just wanted to feel something else, even if it was a different kind of pain. On the worst night, I just sat still, crying to God to protect me. I didn't dare move. I didn't trust myself. But I trust God. After that is when I admitted to my friend how bad it was. I've spent many nights in prayer over coming those dark thoughts. I'm so grateful for a God who never gives up on me. For Jesus, who understands the pain of betrayal. For a Savior who died to save me. 

I've picked up running. Not very far or for very long yet, but I'm working on it. Some nights I run to distract myself from the pain. When I get home and my legs hurt, I am just grateful to feel alive. It also exhaust me so I can sleep better at night. But some days I run because I need to prove to myself I can do hard things. I hate running. I've never understood why people would pay to run in a race. But I think I'm starting to get it. When I hit a mile on the treadmill, I throw my arms in the air and cheer for myself. Last night, I ran 2 miles. I was so proud of myself I almost cried. I'm an overcomer. 

The pain gets less and less each day. I'm starting to feel hope again. I'm starting to embrace life again. All is not over. God is just getting started. 

Tonight, when I came home, the devil started in on his lies. He tries to attack me constantly. He tells me lies like "I'm not good enough," or "I'm too ugly." When one lie doesn't work, he tries another. Tonight, I heard him tell me that maybe if we had had real TV, than he would've spent less time online and, therefore, never left me. 

I rebuked him and told him that I didn't need his lies. God knew this would happen. Even more, God started planning on it years ago. And then it just hit me. How much God has set in place, over the years, for this moment in my life. I know I can't even see all of the details, but I can now see several of them.

In 2012, we started looking for a home to buy but it took us over a year to find one. We looked at several, but none of them felt right. The one that we did put an offer on, fell through. I just felt like we needed something small that we could afford on only one income if something happened. And so we kept looking. When we bought the town home, it felt small, but so was the payment. The thing that really gets me is, at that time, I was still running from God. I didn't think I needed Him, but He knew better. He knew what my future held and He knew what I would need. I've stressed over a lot of things the last two months, but not once has my home been one of those things. Even when I wasn't seeking God, He was taking care of me. He knew that one day it would be just my income to support me. He set it up so I would have a home I could afford on my own. 

Just over two years ago, I woke up with the desire to go back to school. I had tossed around the idea for years, but it was like there was an sudden urgency. Still, at this point, I wasn't focused on God, but He was focused on me. I've no doubt He was looking at my future and He knew I needed to go back to school. He knew that I would need the job I have now to support myself. He even helped provide the funds so I wouldn't need to take out student loans. Even now, as I worry where I'll find the money for next semester, I know that He will provide a way. 

I know that it was God's will that helped me get the job I have now. After my second interview, I knew I had blown it. I told God that. And than I put it in His hands and I knew that His will would be done. When I was offered the job, I knew it was all because of God. 

Then there is the big moment where He finally called me back. I was thinking about that at bible study last night. God is always working, all the time and everywhere. He first found me on the phones at work when a customer called me back to tell me that God was real and he prayed for me. At the time, I didn't think much of it. But it planted a seed and two months later I found myself inside the church I now call home. 

I believe that God is in every detail of my life; not just the big moments, but the small moments too. I'm even convinced He put Blue in that tree for me to find. 

God knows. This blessed assurity burns within my soul and so I have to write it out so I don't forget. I may have turned my back on God, for a time, but He never once stopped loving me. His love is unfailing. He truly has planned out every detail to make sure my needs are met. He wraps me in His peace. I look back over the last two months, and I don't even know how I survived. When I felt like I couldn't take one more step, God carried me. During this time of darkness, I hold fast to Him. I know that He will get me through this. And not just through this, but that there is something amazing on the other side. 

God has given me life. When I feel like I can't do anything else, He is the very air I breathe. Each time I seek His peace, His love floods over me until I am made new. When the pain crashes in, He pulls me back into the light. He knows my pain and heartache and His heart breaks too. I would be lost without Him. God knew that. God knew I would need Him and I'm so glad I have Him.

Monday, August 15, 2016

God's Army of Angels

Last week, I had a booth at the County Fair to sell makeup with my friend Christy. I had learned that the jerk was bringing his girlfriend to the rodeo on Saturday. We are still legally married until the judge signs off in November, but apparently that didn't matter to him.

I realize I can't avoid him forever, but it just hurt that he would do that so soon after he left me. Obviously he has no respect for marriage, but it still hurt. I had thought about just staying home that day, but I really need my business to do well, so I decided to go.

I spent all day praying for God to guard my heart and to protect me. I prayed that He would surround me with his army of angels and keep me from harm. God is always faithful!

Literally all night, our booth was pretty dead. But there was a five minute window, just before the rodeo started, when our booth was literally surrounded with people. So many people that I couldn't even see the booth next to us, let alone the entrance where people were pouring in from the parking lot to go to the rodeo. As I looked around at all the people, I knew God has sent His army to protect me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tithing

In the past, I've paid tithing, mostly because I felt like it was my duty. I've been greatly blessed and I want to return it. But having my income limited has really shown me just how much paying tithing means to me.

I've always paid tithing when I got my monthly paycheck. Then I would pay it on Josh's paychecks that he received every other week. That usually left just one week of the month where I didn't have any tithing to pay. But even then, I usually had an extra $20 in my wallet. When I lost the second source of income, paying tithing on it was one of the things I missed the most. For 3 long weeks, I had nothing I could contribute to tithing bag as it was passed each Sunday and it broke my heart.

This is where I can hear Pastor Dee say "God is here to get your heart, not your money." And I know that is true. But it broke my heart to not contribute each week.

As I sat down to budget my first paycheck of living on my own, tithing was the very first item on my list. I can not express the joy that filled my heart yesterday as I placed my envelope in the bag. I will admit, I thought about splitting it up, so I could give some each week. But that didn't feel right. I don't want my blessings to be portioned out, so I won't do that with my tithing.

As I learn to budget and live on my own, I know that I will have to cut back in some areas. But my tithing will never be one of them.