Monday, July 24, 2017

Before the ending...He is good

Just when you think things can't getmuch worse, a phone call or a text brings to life a whole new secret you weren't expecting. Just when you think you can't take another blow, you get the wind knocked out of you which leaves you doubting and asking "why" once again.

Someone mentioned the other day, the idea of us "airing dirty laundry."  It kind of made me laugh.  At this point,  we are far from airing dirty laundry. We have yet to reveal the details of the depths of hurt that we both have experienced.

Instead,  we choose to share our life and the struggles that we're dealing with because they take a real God to help overcome. And that's where we are right now. We are choosing to take one day at a time. No,  one step at a time. Choosing to believe that God has a purpose and a plan for the storm that we are enduring. But it is also making the choice to believe in God and choosing to believe in His goodness that allows us to move forward together and to share with others. We are able to have faith that God is with us and working in us to grow our marriage in a way that we've never known and will use this growth to encourage others around us.

He's allowing the difficulties and He is allowing this pain all as a way to draw us closer to Him so that we know Him in a way we didn't before this storm. But it all stems from not being afraid to say yes to Him and His will for our lives. Our prayer is: "God take us where you want us to go."  We aren't afraid to say "God do with us what you will."  But in asking these things we understand that there will be pain, there will be struggles, there will be storms. There will be a refining that takes place. It is in each of those things that our faith grows the greatest and we learn to be less self-reliant on our own plans and instead,  surrender to His will.

Not everyone understands our personal faith or our perspective and faith in God. And that's okay.  Not everyone has the same type of story. Not everyone is comfortable sharing their stories. Not everyone has experienced God in a certain way.

But for us,  we want people to know God the way that we know Him. We want people to have the hope that is only found in Jesus. The One who loves us enough that he offered up His life for us.

And so, even when life is messy and doesn't make sense, and we have yet to reach the end of the story,  we choose to share the struggles, the storms and the heartache but we do so with the anticipation that it will bring comfort to someone else who is hurting.

As the body of Christ, we are called to share our struggles so that others can be encouraged and directed towards God who is our source of hope. He is full of love and kindness and the only true source so of our comfort and peace.

And this morning, we are able to look at one another and confirm that God truly brings comfort and peace when we seek after Him with our whole hearts. His goodness knows no bounds!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

God IS matter the ending.

I remember the day I first heard this song. My mom came to visit and told me she wanted to play a song for me. As we sat on my bed, I listened as the tears streamed down my face. The words speaking so deeply to my broken heart.

Never in a million years would I have thought that 8 years later I would be sitting on that same bed, tears streaming down my face, as I listened to the same song yet again, walking through another dark trial. But as I listen to the words again this morning, I am reminded of the experience He carried me through those many years ago. How in the deepest moments of pain and the great disappointment I was experiencing, He lavishly loved me and never left my side.

I know the goodness of God. I've tasted and seen His faithfulness and love when the choice to surrender our circumstances into His hands is made. I want to know that again. Even if it means that this trial we are walking through right now never ends. I want a faith that declares to this world that my God is good no matter how this story ends.

My heart's desire is for everyone to know His goodness and love. And so today, as I listened to the words of this song again, I realized that if going through this trial means that someone else sees God through my experience and learns of His goodness then all of this will be truly worth it. I may not always get it right and still have moments of asking God why but I will choose to trust Him in all things because He is faithful!

"What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise"

Blessings - Laura Story

Drawing us back

Today I've spent a good majority of time reading a book that is allowing me to view our life from a totally different perspective. It has encouraged me to take a step back and look at the various ways God has made His presence known.

With that said,  we are so thankful that God has placed people in our life who understand our faith, our trust in God, who understand brokenness but most importantly, who know how great our God truly is. People who have walked with us, encouraged and prayed for us and who have become our family.

God knows just what we need when we need it and is faithful to provide. He is definitely our Good Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine. But He IS God and He IS holy which requires something from each of us when we say we are going to follow Him.  It means total surrender. It means letting go of control of our own lives and turning that life over to Him allowing Him to to work in and through our lives. However, when we cling too tightly and try to control, things fall apart and become broken as we drift away from Him.

We are thankful for a God who loves us so much that He will pursue us and take whatever means necessary to draw us closer to Him instead of allowing us to fall by the wayside. Truly, how great Is our Father's love for each of us that He would allow us to endure suffering for a time so as to provide a way to draw us back to Him instead of leaving us a broken mess?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Grieving the losses while trusting God

It's been a little over a year since my husband had his accident. It was early one Saturday morning that he decided to take a bike ride when a woman driving hit him with her car. The impact was enough that my husband shattered a car window and cracked his helmet. When I arrived at the hospital,  I found him awake but a bit out of it. They diagnosed him with a concussion and though he was bruised and cut up pretty badly, they sent us home. 

Over the course of the next few weeks we began to see things in his personality that were far different then who he had been before this accident. Things that have significantly transformed our marriage and our relationship and not in a positive way. Throughout the last year we have watched the effects of the injuries suffered that day create significant issues within our marriage. The man I once knew is no longer there and the marriage we once shared is gone. 

Last week, while sitting in the office of our counselor, she spoke words that I had come to realize several months ago but wasn't prepared to hear from someone else. She looked at me and said that I needed to grieve the man I was once married to and grieve the marriage that I have now lost. It was a gut wrenching moment. For the last four months I had held on to hope that things would get better. That our life would improve. But in an instant, everything changed as she looked me in the eye and told me that I needed to let go of what was and accept my new reality. 

This past year has been one of the hardest I've ever experienced. I've been through a lot over my 42 years of life. I've known a lot of heartache and experienced a lot of devastation but this current state of life is by far the most difficult I've ever had to endure. My heart is completely crushed and I've been left doubting God more than once. But I know He's there as He often makes His presence known. And if it weren't for those small moments of reassurance in my life,  I don't know how I would continue to take one step in front of the other. But He continually provides little snippets of hope and truth, goodness and faithfulness, as a way to assure me that I will get through this moment as I have each of those other storms in my life.  

Through the midst of this storm,  we have experienced those who have been less than supportive,  but because of God's gracious goodness, we have also experienced amazing love and support from so many. Those who have stepped up to walk with us through each hard moment and who have been the hands and feet of Jesus. Those who have surrounded us with encouragement, prayers, patience and a lot of love. So many moments of feeling totally alone,  He has provided people to be His hands and feet as a way to make His goodness and His faithfulness present in our lives as a way to remind us that we are never truly alone. Through this He is teaching me that He won't leave my side and that He will fight beside me for my marriage,  fight for me for my marriage and fight with me as I choose to battle through this season of life.  

We never know what life is going to bring. We never know what we're going to wake up to one morning and how differently our world will change. I never thought that morning when my phone rang that in one single moment my whole world would be turned upside down. Each day I now have to figure out how to move forward in a reality that I didn't ask for but instead choose to fight for and to love no matter how difficult or painful. 

Right now, I'm rediscovering  the way to finding my identity,  my security and my hope in the one thing that I have lost sight relationship with Jesus. So unfortunately, the lesson I'm learning is that when we take our eyes off of Jesus,  He sometimes allow for heartache in order to recapture our hearts and to recapture our attention. 

This is definitely a ginormous testing of our faith. It has become my prayer that at the end of it all, even though I may never have the husband I once knew back or my marriage back to what it once was that I will have a phenomenal faith explosion in my life that will allow me to see my marriage and my walk with Jesus in a way that I have never known before. At the end of the day,  my prayer is that my marriage will truly be a reflection of God's grace,  God's love,  God's goodness and God's faithfulness. That in the end,  He will work all things for the glory of those who love Him once again in my life (Romans 8:28). 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A ridge, the flag and making America great again...

Photo from 2016
Last night we got together with some friends and watched Hacksaw Ridge.  Have you seen it?  You should.  In this day and age, where we are seeing division, hatred and selfishness flood our social media feed, we need to be reminded of selflessness by stories like this one.  Stories where people are willing to place their very lives on the line for others. 

We live in a time where entitlement clouds our view of the big picture.  We think we are owed something.  We believe that we deserve so much more than what we have been given.  We can really be selfish. 

Do you realize there is nothing about any of us that deserves the right to open our eyes each morning?  Not a one of us offers such great contribution to this world that deems us worthy to be here.  None of us.  Each morning that we are allowed another breath is a gift.  It means we have a purpose.  It means there is something left for us to do.  Something good.  But we are too blind, too self-centered to see it.

For me, I see it (and this is clearly one of a thousand examples) when I think of the behavior of those celebrity sports figures who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. It is in those moments that I am quickly reminded of the “lostness” of this world.  Yes, men have fought for their freedom to choose whether to stand for that flag but while they make their millions and play their games, men have given their lives.  They have sacrificed EVERYTHING so that these men can put on their little outfits and chase a ball. 

It hurts my heart so much to see the selfishness that exists today.  To know that my kids are growing up in a day and age where people celebrate this kind of behavior.  Behavior that lacks integrity and respect.  Behavior that shines light on entitlement instead of sacrifice. There are days when I wish that each of those who choose this behavior would have to stand on the front lines of a war.  To look the enemy in the eye where men who believe so much in the freedoms of this country and the protection of its people are willing to give their lives for it.

We have watched our country crumble over the last decade. And sadly, it will continue to do so until people choose what is right.  To choose what is good.  To choose to be a people who put those around them first.  To love those around them.  To serve and care for others, FIRST.  Until that happens, we will continue to watch this country suffer from things such as discrimination, hatred, racial division, poverty, and the list goes on.  America can be great again but it won’t come at the hands of a man sitting in a white house.  It has to be a choice that every individual will make to put their selfishness aside, and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
 2 Chronicles 7:14