Tag Archives: trusting god

Your love makes it worth it

5 May

Earlier this week, I found myself just having a really bad day.

You know, one of those days that starts off really great and good things happen, but then all of a sudden something happens that knocks the wind right out of you. One minute you feel strong and tall, and the next minute you’re on the floor, feeling hopeless.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a tough day of the magnitude I just described, but I do want to share with you how I got through it. It made a world of difference to my perspective and my pain, and I hope it encourages someone out there.

Since I began memorizing the book of James a couple of weeks ago, I have begun to use it to fight negative thoughts. If you’re anything like me (LOL, actually, if you’re human), you’ve experienced some difficult things in your lifetime. Your life hasn’t been perfect. You’ve been hurt and you’ve even felt heartache. In times when I feel down because of things that have happened to me, I force myself to start quoting James, even if all I’ve got memorized is a few verses. And let me tell you, it has begun to transform me and bring me through some super tough days. It’s sort of like having encouraging scripture verses on index cards, but much more effective because you are literally preaching to yourself. And, in addition, you can encourage yourself anywhere, anytime (even while driving), without needing to locate your 3×5 cards!

So, on this “bad day,” I had already memorized exactly 12 verses of Chapter 1. I began to quote them aloud, and when I got to the very last verse, verse 12, my tears began to fall even more quickly. But they had gone from being bad tears to being good ones. You’ll see why.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Here’s how I see it: No matter what I face in this lifetime, I must remember that my earthly life is temporary. While it is sometimes filled with pain and heartache, I must remember that if I keep my faith in God and believe that he died to save me from eternal damnation, I’ll get to heaven one day. And when I’m there, as Revelation 21:4 says, there will be no more tears. No more pain.

That’s a future worth dealing with the temporary pain, don’t you think? There’s a worship song by Kim Walker (“I Surrender”) that says, “Your love makes it worth it, your love makes it worth it all.”

Amen to that.

On days when you feel that you can’t go on anymore, remember that HIS love and the “crown of life” make all of our earthly pains worth pressing through. He’ll give you the strength to do it if you ask him and if you surrender. I promise.

Jen

Difficult transitions

6 Mar

Life is full of change. Sometimes it’s good, and other times it seems bad. Really bad.

But sometimes I wonder if it’s all a matter of perspective.

Maybe I should explain myself. The way I see it, our lives are filled with points of transition. I might get a new job, move into a different house, start going to a new school or decide to start eating healthy. These are all things that consist of a shift, a change or an adjustment. But you know what else we can also define as points of “transition?” Heartbreak. Sorrow. Pain. Even Loss.

These times in our lives really, really stink. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. Yes, my life is relatively easy compared to people who live in third world countries or to those who live in places where they are persecuted for their faith. Yes, I have it good. But life still hurts sometimes. I’m sure you would agree.

But these times are not times of defeat. These times are not awkward or inconvenient. And most important, they don’t define me. They’ll only define me if I let them define me by choosing to label myself as “the girl who did this or that,” “the girl who dated this person and that person,” or “the girl who used to be ______.”

Yes, these times are times of struggle. But don’t forget, they are only times of transition…difficult transition, that is. But let’s look up “transition” in a thesaurus. Do you see anything negative? Let me know if you do, because I only see words such as “jump,” “leap,” “progress,” “transform” and “convert.” Oh, those are good words! These times of transition are times for us to progress and transform into the image of Christ….hmm, does that sound familiar?

I want to share with you three new ways of looking at a difficult time in life as a transition. Like I just mentioned, these are times that can conform us to the image of Christ like I also discussed in my last post about Romans 8:28.

For my examples, I’m using the phrase, “this is not awkward, this is an opportunity.” This is because a recent, painful event in my own life is now causing me to feel awkward in certain situations. But these moments aren’t really awkward; no, they are opportunities for me to show others that I am a follower of Christ above all else. Feel free to fill in the blank with however you’re feeling and it will still apply. (“This is not defeat, this is an opportunity.” “This is not the end of the road, this is an opportunity.” “This is not the worst thing that’s ever happened, this is an opportunity.”) If you’re facing something tough in your life right now, writing these phrases out on a notecard and preaching to yourself will really help!

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity for me to give God praise.

I recently heard a song on K-LOVE that nearly brought me to tears as I was driving around in my little red Saturn. It’s called “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe, and it goes like this:

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

What bold words those are! But this is how we should train ourselves to think every time we face a trial in our lives. Think about it: if your life were exactly as perfect as you want it to be, do you think you’d never fall away from your faith? Do you think you’d never begin to depend on yourself, thinking you don’t need God because you are controlling your life and doing pretty well with it? Sometimes in our lives, difficult times are gentle whispers from the Lord to remind us to whom all of the glory belongs and on whom we can fully depend. I don’t know about you, but I want to the Lord to do whatever it takes to keep me in his will and keep me trusting and thanking him. Even if it means bringing the rain and rejoicing in the middle of the storm! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”)

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity to display Christ.

I have to be honest, sometimes when I am facing a trial, I can be very self-focused. Sometimes, but not always, I shut others out and focus on myself and how bad my pain is. I begin to develop self-pity and think my problems are worse than anyone else’s. In doing so, I am labeling myself and defining myself by what has happened to me instead of using the storm as a chance to show myself as a follower of Christ.

Even though it can be hard to imagine when the pain is real and I’m feeling vulnerable, I want others to see how strong I am and how blessed I am by the Lord as a testimony to them. I want to give him the glory for what he’s doing in my life and not just tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also live in such a way that I don’t even have to say a word. I want to live in such a way that what I do, not just what I say, displays Christ!

I want to share with you what a friend of mine recently reminded me of. I told her that I was going to have to face some awkward moments in the near future that made me want to just run away from the situation and avoid it altogether, and she reminded me that God gives me the quiet place where I can cry out to him and tell him how I’m feeling. I can give him my hurt and know that I don’t need to fear (1 John 4:18). Then, I can get up and face the day, knowing that he’s with me. He never leaves me. I can do this. This is my story. And he’s the one writing it!

This is not awkward, this is an opportunity for me to trust.

I’m a big big fan of Kari Jobe. I love her voice, I love her music, I love her personality and most of all I love her shoes and her hair! Ok maybe not most of all…actually, most of all, I love this new song of hers called “Find You On My Knees.” Here’s an excerpt:

So what if sorrow shakes my faith,
What if heartache still remains,
I’ll trust you, my god I’ll trust you.
‘Cause You are faithful and

I will find you in the place I’m in, find you when I’m at my end,
Find you when there’s nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you’ll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I’ll find you on my knees, my knees.

(Side note: watching this video is a lot better than reading the lyrics on a page.)

I love this song because it teaches me to trust. It reminds me that I can trust God because he’ll never leave me. When I’m feeling weak and when I’m feeling lost, it doesn’t take long for me to “search” for God. I just gotta get on my knees. These moments that feel awkward now are the lessons God is using to teach me to trust him. He knows what he’s doing!

This post is getting long, so I will stop here for now. I pray that this reaches some aching hearts today and brings a message of hope!

Jen

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

Worry, God’s Will and the Gospels

30 Nov

This is just a little something God laid on my heart this morning that I would like to share…

Right now in my devotional life I’m reading through the gospels. Many see these passages as important mostly around Christmas and Easter, but what Christ did for us is important all of the time, and reading through them from start to finish is so refreshing.

I have to say that really am enjoying reading about the life of Christ. This week I’m in Luke, and today I read Luke 12. Two portions of scripture in this chapter really hit home for me and made me realize that my anxiousness about the future often cross over from excitement to stress. I begin questioning and asking God what his plans are for me tomorrow, next year or even in five years. I find myself wholeheartedly seeking after his will for my future instead of living in the leading of his Spirit in my life today (and every day).

First, I found that I need constant reminder that God DOES have a plan for my life and that I am significant to him! This is clear in Luke 12:7.

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

What I read next truly found a place in my heart. It’s Luke 12:22-24, titled “Do Not Be Anxious” in the ESV. I encourage you to read the entire passage!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

I encourage you to read all of Luke 12 today if you’re facing major decisions in your life or you’re not sure what’s next. It sure was a refreshing reminder to me today!
“I think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life. God cares more about our response to his Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.” — Francis Chan, Forgotten God
Jen