Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Enjoying the Here & Now

The Lord has really been breaking me lately of my tendency to focus more on the negative, and on what I don’t have instead of on the positive and the things which he has blessed me with. This sinful way of thinking warps my mindset about things, and is something I greatly desire to change and pray that the Lord will enable me to do so. I have every reason in the world to be totally and completely content, solely because I have been given the gift of salvation, not to mention the countless other blessings I have been given in my family, my incredible boyfriend, my friends, the fact that I never want for food, clothing, or shelter, and the list could go on and on…so why do I struggle so much with being content? Because I’m selfish and proud and think that I deserve more than I have, when the fact is that I don’t deserve a thing…

Throughout every season of life the Lord is my ultimate source of him I have everything I will ever need. When life is beyond great, he is all that I need..when life seems like it just sucks, he is all I need..when life is just going along, seemingly mundane and ordinary, he is all that I need..what’s the common denominator here? In the Lord I find everything I will ever, and could ever, need…EVER..and because of that, I can be, and am commanded to be, content and completely satisfied in him alone.

People and circumstances will change and disappoint me, but the Lord never will. Life will never always go exactly as I plan, but I do know that it will always go exactly as the Lord plans, and that fact should cause me to be completely filled with joy and to be able to fully enjoy each and every moment of life, recognizing each day as a perfect gift from God.

I have recently been convicted of focusing too much on the future and on worrying about getting to the next phase in my life, that I have been neglecting to really enjoy and appreciate what the Lord has blessed me with in the here and now. God has me exactly where he wants me –everything in my life is under his sovereign control. I need to learn to continually rest in that fact, and to enjoy that fact. My worrying about what is going to happen next, and my thinking that I need to “help” God in working out the details of my life will do absolutely nothing fact, those things will only serve as hindrances to what the Lord is trying to teach me and to accomplish in my life.

I am learning to stop focusing on what I wish I had, or on where I want to be down the road, and am instead learning to trust that the Lord has given me everything that I need and that he has me in the exact spot he wants me at this point in my life. I don’t need to worry about how I am going to get to where I want to be in the future-the Lord will take me and lead me exactly where HE wants me to be..and I know that I won’t be disappointed!

Philippians 4:11-13-“...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trusting Through the Trials

Sometimes things happen in my life that make absolutely no sense to me, and to be completely honest, sometimes those things drive me completely nuts! I struggle a lot with questioning God, with sometimes almost demanding him to explain himself to me…as if I have any right to say to God, “Why? Why in the world are you allowing this to happen to me? It makes no sense to me.” Obviously I have no right to do that; no one does…God doesn’t answer to me; he doesn’t answer to anyone. Things don’t need to make sense to me right now, and actually, some things will never make sense to me this side of heaven, and that’s ok. God is in complete control over every aspect of my life; he is sovereign over all. That’s all I need to know, and that should be enough for me.

Now notice I said “should,” not “is.” I am absolutely nowhere near perfect and I struggle A LOT with grasping that concept. During the trials when God is often pushing and pulling me in all directions, I tend to have an attitude in which I’m kicking and screaming my way through it all at the beginning, before eventually arriving at a place of peace, resting in the fact that God is holding me through it all, no matter how difficult, or sometimes unfair, things may seem. I so badly want to arrive at a place where I’m at total peace throughout the trials of life, from the very beginning, but I also understand that it is a total learning process, and that God will give me plenty of opportunities in which to grow in that area :-)

“God knows that you can withstand your trial, or else He would not have given it to you. His trust in you explains the trials of your life, no matter how severe they may be. God knows your strength, and He measures it to the last inch. Remember, no trial has ever been given to anyone that was greater than that persons strength, through God, to endure it.” (Streams in the Desert) That last part is key- “through God.” I often lean on my own strength to get through life, which then causes me to question God because things seem so overwhelming to me. It’s when I lean fully on the Lord, and draw strength from him alone, that I am filled with peace…all questioning leaves my mind, and I’m satisfied with him alone, because I know that I’m resting in the grip of my Savior and am able to truly trust in the fact that he has it all under control and is truly working ALL things for good, (Romans 8:28) no matter how confusing or unfair things appear in my limited human perspective.

“Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to our faith. When we are confronted with hindrances that block our path of service, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith and then fill them with the fullness and complete sufficiency of Jesus. As we move forward in faith, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested. Sometimes we may have to wait and realize that “perseverance must finish its work” (James 1:4) but ultimately we will surely find the stone rolled away and the Lord Himself waiting to bestow a double blessing on us for our time of testing.” (Streams in the Desert) A double blessing…how cool is that? What God, in a sense, “takes” from me, he will restore back to me in an even greater capacity.

Trials come to make you grow in your faith…there’s always a purpose behind everything that happens to you…it’s a matter of keeping the right perspective through the hard times and the difficulties, and really trusting the Lord to keep his word, and to eventually reveal his purpose behind it all…even if that doesn’t happen during our time on earth. Jesus is more than enough…and it is in the midst of the trials of life that God so lovingly reminds us of that unwavering, and completely comforting fact.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why Me?

I really need to get back into journaling/blogging on a regular basis. God really uses my writing to speak to me and reveal himself to me, and yet I hardly ever take the time to sit down and write.

The Lord has really placed on my heart the need to spend more time meditating on Psalm 139. The Lord knows everything about me-the good and the bad. That is sometimes a scary thought, but at the same time, very comforting, humbling, and amazing. I am seriously in awe that God chooses to love me in spite of my wretched sinful nature-my prideful heart, my arrogant attitude, my laziness, my selfishness, and my sometimes blatant disregard for his commandments and will for my life. Why would the Lord choose to save me and love me? It's humbling to think about.

To be a recipient of his grace, to know that I am forever spared from the fires of hell should continually fill me with praise and why doesn't it? Because I'm proud; because I can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that I'm a good person; that I deserve to receive good things from the Lord. That couldn't be further from the truth. I don't deserve anything. There is nothing good in me apart from the Lord. The fact that he chose me to be one of his own for eternity is amazing and I should be living my life daily in such a way which reflects my thanksgiving and praise for that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lessons Learned This Summer...

Well, since I haven't written anything on here in months, I figured it was time for another blog post! My summer was crazy busy, but so much fun at the same time. I am now a credentialed teacher, no luck in landing a full-time teaching position, but I've gotten on sub lists at a variety of schools, so hopefully in the coming weeks I will have enough sub jobs to keep me busy. I went to Haiti in June, which was incredible..I love it there so much..went to Maui in July with my family, did not want to leave at all, and seriously considered applying for teaching jobs there as soon as we got home..went up to Oregon at the end of July to go white-water rafting, and then finished out my summer full of trips with a week up at Hume Lake in August with the high school group. Needless to say, my summer was packed, not only with jaunts all over the globe, but with blessings that continue to exceed my wildest hopes and dreams :-)

This post is a mixture of some different things that I journaled about (actually I typed these up on my phone) during my time up at Hume, and some of the what I've written is paraphrased from my favorite devotional book-Streams in the Desert. God taught me so much about myself, and about his goodness and faithfulness this summer, and continues to do so on a daily basis, and I just wanted to share a bit of what I have been learning over the past few months...

~God really does hear your persistent...He will answer them in HIS way and in HIS timing...He makes everything beautiful in HIS time and works out EVERYTHING for him, he truly does have your best interests in mind and will do whatever is necessary to bring you closer to himself and to reveal his glory and power through the work of his spirit in your life...the process will not always be enjoyable, and in fact will often be painful, but God does promise that it will be completely worth it...we get to spend eternity with him, and that is truly all that matters in the end~

~Never pray for an easier life-pray to be a stronger person...Christ will not lead us to greatness through an easy of self-indulgent life...we must continually be looking towards is the difficulties and trials that lead us to greatness and ultimately bring God the most glory...he doesn't promise it will be easy, but he does promise that it will be worth it~

~Our insecurities can all be traced back to an issue with pride...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the is so easy to compare ourselves to others and to complain about things that we don't like about ourselves or things that we feel we are lacking, but what that truly comes back to is a heart issue and a me-centered attitude in which we display pride and believe that we know better than God about what is best for our lives...Psalm 139- I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful-I know that full well...when we complain about our appearance or our personality and compare ourselves to others, we are essentially telling God that he didn't know what he was doing when he created us the way that he did, and believe that we know better than the creator of the universe...there is no one or anything greater than God and we should be humbled by the fact that such a holy and righteous being would choose to send his son to die for our sins and provide a way for us to be released from a life of sin and a future of eternal can we display an attitude reflective of anything by pure humbleness and adoration when we meditate upon that truth?~

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Stay or To Go?

My life is at a really strange point right now. In a little over a month I will have my teaching credential and will embark on the journey of trying to secure a teaching job, not the easiest thing to do right now, especially here in Orange County. To be completely honest though, I’m really not worried about it. I’m definitely considering applying for jobs out of the area/state, even though the idea of moving somewhere new, completely on my own, does scare me just a little, but then on the other hand, it would be such a leap out of my comfort zone, and could be a totally fun adventure.

I’ve never lived anywhere but Orange, other than the 4 years that I spent at Biola..a whopping 20 minutes from the idea of moving somewhere like Seattle, or the Bay Area, somewhere on the East Coast, or even Maui, is just a little intriguing. On the flip side, though, all of my family is here, most of my friends are here, and I’m super involved at my church, all things to consider…we’ll see what happens. There is potential for landing a teaching job nearby though..I’m applying to a Christian school in Corona (thanks for the tip Michelle!) that is actually hiring elementary teachers for next year, a rarity right now, so I’m interested to see what happens with that.

As I was reminded by someone last week, God is bigger than everything. He is beyond capable of putting me in the exact right spot to land the perfect teaching job for me, if that is part of his with that being said, I’m excited to see how the next few months play out..

Monday, April 5, 2010

Purpose in the Delays..

Pastor Philip's Easter message yesterday could not have been any more encouraging for where I'm at right now. I so badly needed the reminder of the fact that God is present in every single part of my life, whether things are going out of this world amazing, or whether I am faced with tests and trials that seem like they are never going to end. God ordains every single circumstance in my life to happen for a specific reason, even things that I look back on with total confusion as to why they had to happen. His timing is absolutely perfect and he uses everything that happens to me, good or bad, to work out for good. Romans 8:24-32 have really become my life verses this past year, specifically Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Things have happened that have caused me to sit back and begin to question God and ask "why?, what was the point?" but then I'm hit with the fact that I’m questioning God, the creator of universe, about the way that he is ordering my life.. really? Who am I to do that?

Another thing that Pastor Philip touched on during his message yesterday, and really my main reason for this post, was about the way that God uses delays in our lives. He said that sometimes we feel that when we pray to God about something, we are talking into static, that there is no one on the other end of the line, that God isn’t listening to our heartfelt cries…so not true. There is a purpose behind everything that God allows in our lives, and there is a specific purpose for the way that he answers each and every prayer that we offer up to him. The thing that stuck out the most to me from the message yesterday was when Pastor Philip said that when God delays in answering a prayer, it doesn’t mean that he hasn’t heard our prayer, or that there is a problem, it simply means that there is a greater purpose to be accomplished, that can only be accomplished through the delay. Through the delays God develops our character, he causes us to cling tighter to him and further submit our lives and our will up to him. Through the delays he is formulating a greater blessing than I could ever imagine, and something that will bring him more glory than if he were to allow things to work out in my way, in my timing. God’s way and Gods’ timing are so much better, though I struggle with believing and accepting this time and time again.

Trials come in life to help you grow in your faith, to add something to your life that wasn’t there before. It’s so easy to question God when things in life start getting tough, or when things don’t work out the way that you planned, but God is so much greater than our trials and ultimately uses them to bring him more glory through the testing of our faith. 1 Peter 1: 6-7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I find it so comforting to be reminded of the fact that God uses the trials in my life to refine my faith, and make it so much stronger than it was before. My genuine faith in him is more valuable and more precious than gold. How cool is that? If you are going through a trial, “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2-4. There is a purpose behind everything that happens in your life, there is no such thing as coincidence or happenstance..there are no flukes or accidents..God allows everything that happens in your life for a specific purpose.

Things may happen in life that make absolutely no sense to you, that cause you to question if God momentarily checked out of your life when something was happening to you, but I assure you that God uses everything that happens to you to bring about his perfect work in your life. That has been one of the biggest lessons that I have been learning lately. God is bigger than everything, bigger than anything you will ever be faced with in life. He is the God of the impossible. He delights in bringing things to fruition in your life that appear to be absolutely out of the question, and beyond impossible according to human reason, because it is in those things that he is able to best display his power and ultimately receive the greatest amount of glory.

I’ll end with a quote from the devotional book, Streams in the Desert, a book I HIGHLY recommend…“The disappointments of life are simply the hidden appointments of love.”

Letting go…

Learning to let go..

I've wanted to start a blog for a while now, but never quite knew how to start, or what to write about. I love to write, and I love to journal, so I figured I would just start a blog to share about the things that God is doing in my life, and the things that he is teaching me...biggest lesson I've been learning lately...learning to let go of things and let God have control to work things out in his way, and in his timing..hence the title of my blog: "Letting Go"..below are the lyrics from the Tenth Avenue North song, Let it Go, a song that has been a great reminder to me of the peace and joy that are found when we surrender it all to God and let him have control..I hope you'll be encouraged!

I've been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles
They've gone white
I'm fighting for who I wanna be
I'm just trying to find security

But You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say you will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go.

Well it's hard enough to hear
Harder still, to move beyond this fear
We know there's nothing I can bring,
So tell me what do you want from me?

But You say let it go, You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one's who lose control
You say You will be, everything I need
You said if I lose my life it's then I'll find my soul
You say let it go, You say let it go