Tag Archives: Storms

I’ve got my eye on the goal

24 Mar

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

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If you’ve been reading my blog for the past two months, you may have noticed that I’ve blogged about some pretty tough times. Without giving details, I’ve shared what I call “Lessons From My Journey.” These posts are the longest ones I write, and they are filled with lessons through scripture that I’m learning as I navigate my way through what most would define as a “trial.” (Although to me, it is more and more a blessing and an opportunity.)

I’m going to continue to use vague terms when referring to this season in my life simply because that’s what I am most comfortable doing. Someday I believe I’ll get to share my story in more detail, but that day is certainly not today. Or next week. Or even next year.

But today I want to talk about how–two months after this so-called storm began–I am given a choice: to sabotage everything I’ve learned thus far OR to continue to press on and let God have total control.

When something difficult comes our way, it’s easy to feel defeated. It’s hard not to pity ourselves. It’s difficult to keep going strong when things don’t go our way. But I’m so blessed to have met Jesus long before this time in my life arrived. Without him, I cannot even begin to imagine the dark place I’d be in right now.

During this time in my life, I’ve sought the counsel of beautiful, strong, mature and wise Christians. They have helped me stay on the path to restoration and, thanks to the Holy Spirit alive in me, I have not strayed. God has used some incredible individuals to speak into my life, to pray for me and to encourage me. Most of all, he has used them to direct me to the Word. Now I hunger for it like my life depends on it. Sure, there are some great books and brochures about getting through trials, but more than anything, the Word of GOD is what we need (I love Romans 15:4).

So what exactly am I wanting to share today? Well, like I said, this week I was given the opportunity to give it all up. To walk away from my beautiful journey toward wholeness in Christ and to enter into a dark place. To put it more bluntly, I could have wrecked everything I’ve learned and started walking on my own. Without Jesus. Doing my own thing.

But he kept me.

And I love that Philippians 3 provides a great insight about perseverance toward Christ and not looking back. It’s helped me so much! The author talks about not letting others bring us down on our journey as Christians. Normally, I would use the ESV to quote scripture. But The Message makes it so abundantly clear and I want to share this version with you. I know it’s long, but please read the whole thing:

Focused on the Goal

12 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus.14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision-you’ll see it yet!16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal.18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross.19 But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

20 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ,21 who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

Isn’t that just beautiful? I have always thought The Message was…ahem…”watered down,” but I compared this with both the NIV and ESV, and while those two versions are also incredible, The Message seems so much bolder to me. It’s almost like Paul is in your face, telling you to not be foolish and run toward Christ!

If there’s one reason for pressing on, it’s because I want to run after God and continue to be more like Christ (v 13).

The way I see it, while we walk with Christ, things will happen to us that are out of our control. People will fail us. We’ll experience heartache, pain, loss and more. But we’re called to press on. I truly believe that everything God allows in our lives is an opportunity to allow ourselves to be molded into Christ’s image. And the bad stuff is a huge part of that. Don’t let temptation get in the way of your walk with God. Keep going…keep pressing on…keep persevering…keep your eye on the goal!

If you’re struggling to press on, I encourage you to meditate on Philippians 3 (and Hebrews 12, which I started this blog out by quoting) today. You CAN do this. You don’t need to give up. God’s doing something in your life. He’s making you more like his Son. It’s going to be beautiful…

In Christ,

Jen

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He holds me together

20 Feb

Our world is filled with hurting people who have lives that are spinning out of control with pain we didn’t ask for or could ever even imagine. And God is making a promise to us, saying, “I am a universe maker and I am a heart former, but I am also big enough to be intimately acquainted with all the circumstances of every one of your lives, and I promise you, no matter what comes in this lifetime, no matter how difficult the road or how dark the night, I will hold onto you and I will literally hold you together.” -Louie Giglio

I have to be honest. Sometimes I think I’ve got it all figured out.

And then something in my life doesn’t go as planned. Nope. In fact, things go the exact opposite of what I wanted. That’s when I get a massive reality check and suddenly realize I haven’t been surrendering my life to God. I’d been trying to do things all on my own. Let me tell you, this experience is humbling.

The truth is that I don’t know a single thing about how the God of the universe works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). What do I mean by that? Well, I understand that good things can come out of a tragic event, but I don’t always get to see the whole story unfold and I definitely don’t always get an answer when I ask, “Why, God?”

But the important thing is that I do know this: In every season, he holds me together. And he holds you together, too.

This is something I learned from a scripture verse that has recently helped me during a difficult time. It’s Colossians 1:17, and it says this:

 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

The first time you read that, you might not really get it. Read it again. Let it sink in. Integrate yourself into that verse: “He is before all things, and in him I am held together.” That means we can trust in God because, first of all, he existed before any of us and he created us. We can also trust in him because he holds ALL things together, meaning that even when our worst nightmares come true, we can know that he will take care of us. He will never forsake us. He will hold us. And he will hold us together. 

Often times when I pray and ask God to help me or someone else, I use the phrase “God, please be with me and/or them.” It was only after a loving friend pointed it out that I realized the silliness of this request. God is always with us. We just need to draw near to him and he will draw near to us (James 4:8)! This gives me SO much security during any storm. All I have to do is draw near and then trust. He will never leave me.

Now here’s the part where things get kinda cool. When I first read Colossians 1:17, I initially thought that it was only referring to the fact that God holds me together in mind and spirit. And he does! But some say it means even more. Watch this video clip of Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta and speaker and founder of the Passion movement. This may be old news to some, but I just learned of it recently. In this clip, Louie talks about Laminin, a protein molecule that literally holds us together. When he first Googled the term, he had no idea what he would find. Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e4zgJXPpI4

Isn’t that amazing? Some say it’s no coincidence that Laminin is shaped like the Cross. And honestly, it should be no surprise to us that it is God who holds us together, even in body. Scripture tells us that he created us and he formed us (Colossians 1:15). He even knew us before we were born and knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139).

While some may argue that it’s just coincidence and that we have no proof of God purposely making this protein in the shape of the Cross, the point is not only that God is powerful enough to have created everything on this earth (including you and me), but also that he cares enough to take care of each of us! No matter what comes our way–the loss of a loved one, a really bad breakup, family drama, physical injury–all we have to do is get on our knees, give our hurt to God and then simply trust. He knows how much our pain hurts and he understands us better than anyone else. He will heal our broken hearts and we will have a story to tell when we’re on the other side of our hard times if we trust him (Please read Psalm 34:18-22 and James 1:2-4!).

As trials come and go in my own life, I have to constantly remind myself that this earth is not my home. And thank God! It is not the end, but it is instead preparing us for eternity in heaven if we give our lives to him. As long as he holds me together–that is, as long as I am on this earth–I will praise him!

If you’re questioning God’s existence or faithfulness in a hard time, just turn to Colossians 1 and any Psalm I have referenced. I pray it would give you the peace that it has given me. During those times when I don’t have all the answers, the best thing I can do is wait, trust and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with his peace.

Jen