You’ll Find Him There

There was a time a few years ago when I put my Bible underneath my pillow and slept on it every night. In the midst of chaos, it was plea for His help, my declaration of trust. As childlike as it was, it was all I knew to do. My mind felt broken, and I knew His word and His presence were my only hope for stability.

I went to the lowest of lows, and I found Him there. I didn’t lose Him when and where I thought I would. Or rather, He didn’t lose me when I thought He would.

I’m reminding myself of this today because I’ve watched people I love go down into those low places. I have prayer requests that are too heavy to speak… they sink to the bottom of my heart and I carry them with me, and when I muster up the strength, I lift them up to Him.

What do I want to say to you if you’re in the midst of darkness, or heading into battle?

You’ll find Him there, you will. Some days it’ll seem like He’s gone, but He’s not. He’s in your midst, and someday you will see that more clearly than you do today.

Search His word and ask Him to reveal scriptures and promises to you for your situation. Cling to those scriptures. When it feels like you can’t make it a step further, mutter them out loud.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

Ever Striving

Bitterness… have you ever tasted bitterness? I have and I can tell you this… It is the foulest thing. It’s so foul that it taints the prettiest views, moments, and people. It is poison just like they say.

Loss… have you ever felt it? I have and I can tell you this… It is the saddest thing. It’s so sad that it refuses the most joyful pleasures and drains full cups when there’s no reason to. It stings just like they say.

These things we feel

And the ways we feel them,

I guess it’s all part of what

Makes us human.

Beauty… have you ever seen it? I have and I can tell you this… It is the most healing thing. It’s so healing that it can flood places in your soul that say “DO NOT ENTER” and bring life to the deadest of senses. It is something to behold just like they say.

Hope… have you ever held it? I have and I can tell you this… It is the most freeing thing. It’s so freeing that it can make you feel like you’re on top of a mountain when you’re standing in a valley. It can make you sing when there’s no reason to and, yes, it changes everything just like they say.

These things we feel

And the ways we feel them,

I guess it’s all part of what

Makes us human.

These things we feel

And the ways we feel them,

Created in His image

Ever striving to be like Him.

I Am the Best Wife

“You are the best wife,” he said.

“You are the best husband,” she replied.

Spoken at the end of a hard day, a long day, a sad day. We reluctantly cuddled up even though we couldn’t quite get to the bottom of why we were so annoyed of each other. Sometimes life is hard because of external circumstances, and sometimes life is hard because of internal conditions. Sometimes both. In this case, life was hard because of internal conditions… expectations unmet, encouragement not given, vision seen but not close enough to touch.

It’s not that we are or were going through anything major, it’s just that this is life and this is marriage. You give, you take, you sow, you reap, and sometimes you can do everything right and still have bad days (yep, it’s true). Two imperfect people join together to form an imperfect marriage and what do you get? The highest of highs and lowest of lows, the heights of joy, the depths of sorrow, and the worst of all, too: numbness and apathy. But you’re together. That’s the comfort. Not that you don’t go through things, but that you go through things with someone you love and with someone who loves you. I wouldn’t want to go through easy seasons, hard seasons, or apathetic seasons with anyone else.

Hearing you’re the best wife when you feel the least deserving is humbling, redeeming, and healing. Me telling him he’s the best husband when I feel he’s the least deserving is also humbling, redeeming, and healing. Muttering those words closed the distance between our hearts because that is what grace does, it covers blemishes, fills gaps, and offers us a new perspective.

I can’t help but think of Jesus, telling me I’m new, loved, whole, forgiven and redeemed over and over again. And even on the days when I don’t feel I am any of those things, it is still true. That is grace.

To my husband and my husband only, I am the best wife. And grace is that even when I try so hard and come up short, I still am.

“You are the best wife,” he said.

“You are the best husband,” she replied.

If I Could Just

If I could just feel it.

If I could just be that.

If I could just go there.

If I could just change it.

If I could just fix it.

If I could just make it go away.

Always waiting for something, always looking for something, always asking for something, aren’t we? And yet the secret is this, we find time and time again: the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Yes, you heard me, it’s not. I know this, and deep down, so do you.

If you got that thing you’ve always wanted and if you were that person you’ve always thought you should be there would still be a hole because you are not perfect, neither am I, and we aren’t promised tomorrow. These longings that we have ultimately meet their end in a land that we have yet glimpsed.

Heaven is the other side… and there, we will find our green grass and so much more.

Until then, I don’t have much of a solution for the “If I could just” syndrome. All I can say is that He is enough, and I am enough because He is in me. You are enough because He is in you.

Being consumed with what we think life should be or could be can be crippling… so crippling that it can prevent us from actually living. I encourage you to simply trust God with yourself and your life. Live in His presence today, not in your worries, concerns, and desires.

____________________

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

A Secret to Joy

Over the past year, there’s only been one book, besides the Bible ;), that’s kept my attention long enough for me to (almost) finish it. That book is called One Thousand Gifts and it’s by a woman named Ann Voskamp. Her writing is raw, eloquent, and captivating.

I had a pretty rough year (yep, being engaged/married doesn’t fix all of your problems… However, having someone there who loves you with their whole heart does make the journey from pain to wholeness easier), and only the essentials (Jesus, His Word, and God-appointed relationships) made the cut in my life. You learn to get back to the basics: being thankful for every sunrise, salvation, and God’s love. My lofty revelation for the year was probably just that I need Jesus, every day.

Anyways, I felt pretty numb and empty on and off for quite some time. It felt like I couldn’t “do” enough to fix myself… and the truth is, I still can’t. And neither can you. Only God can do that.

Long story short, I thank God today because I can truly say that He has delivered me from so much heaviness. His joy is truly my strength and I know that He can heal the deepest wounds and reach the darkest places in us, in anyone. My heart is for the people whose hearts are full of pain and nobody knows. It is the world we are living in… whether it’s a homeless woman or a wealthy man in a suit: pain is universal. And yet, God’s love is greater… Anyone who calls on Him will be saved in the whole sense.

Thank you GOD for Your love and mercy!

I asked but never searched

Wandered but never dug 

For answers and sometimes

for anything at all 

 

I begged but never thanked

Cried out but never waited 

 For a sign and sometimes

for anything at all

 

To all the places that I’ve been

where I didn’t think You were

and all the moments I’ve spent wondering

when You were always sure,

 

I’ve opened my eyes to see that You 

weren’t so hidden after all. 

 

No, not so hidden after all. 

Inspired by a quote from One Thousand Gifts:
“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” 

Though the Fig Tree May not Blossom

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines; 

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food; 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Have you ever found yourself at a place where it feels like a thousand disappointments have folded into one big question mark? The… “I trust you God, but where on earth could you be in the midst of this” kind of question mark? I mean… honestly?

We all deal with our question mark differently–there are so many ways, really. You can embrace it in hopes of some sort of comfort, not realizing the toxic emotions confusion and chaos cause when you cling to them so tightly. You can close your eyes and take on the “wake me up when it’s over” mentality, or if you’re like me, you can punch it every time it lowers itself into your way… thinking you’re doing spiritual warfare, but in all reality you’re getting the strength knocked out of you because… well, this is not your [my] fight.

The prophet Habakkuk spoke the words above in a time when, quite literally, everything was going wrong. [External] circumstances were causing [internal turmoil].

The economy was failing, there were threats of war, and on a personal level, he was overcome with feelings of loss, doubt, and grief.

I know a lot of people, including myself, who have been through an extremely hard past year, and I just believe it’s time to stop running away from “negative” emotions because we believe that if we acknowledge our disappoint it means we’re letting God down. …Disappointment is not the opposite of faith. It’s a part of life and we have to learn how to process it in a healthy way if we want to come out stronger.

God might not make our problems vanish, but He is Lord OVER our problems and wants us to know that He is so in the midst of it all. And so I pray over my friends, family, and any stranger that might read this, that you will stop running from question marks in your life, and that you will fall madly in love with the King of Kings who loves your soul and wants to see you whole, healed, full of true joy, and therefore is not disappointed with your disappointment. 

Even when what I hoped and expected and prayed for didn’t happen,

And I sowed and sowed and didn’t get a return,

Though some days I look around and find empty places

that I was convinced would be filled by now,

and it can feel like I gave everything for nothing

 Even then,

Yes,

Yet,

I will  rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.