New Year – No Fear?

(Photo:Nasirkan)

            (Photo:Nasirkan)

 

As I was thinking about the fact that 2013 is almost upon us, I was struck by how very inspired I am now that I have been dedicating a lot of time to studying God’s Word and biblical prophecy about the end times and the eventual return of Jesus Christ. Who hasn’t had that on their minds lately? One only has to read the news for just a couple of days to start to wonder about it all. Even those who laugh about or brush off such things are finding themselves curious about what the world is coming to and what all this evil we see all around us really means.

God has truly blessed me beyond what I can describe as a result of this time spent attempting to wrap my mind around it all – I decided several months ago to seek out what HE says about the end of this earthly life as we know it, and I tell you now, my eyes have continued to be opened in new and intriguing ways!

The greatest personal blessing of all has been that He has diminished my fear about the last days and turned that into an actual anticipation instead. I no longer see it as an ending to life, or something to look upon with dread, but as what will be the beginning of our new, true life (the really good one) that we get to live for all eternity with Jesus (if we have indeed accepted His gift of salvation). To me, this goes beyond what I would consider to be wonderful news!

Along with that, the Lord has nudged me to begin to live my life in a different light completely – one in which I will no longer allow Him to fade into the background, but rather, will boldy declare His wonderful name and do my absolute best, through any avenue I can find, to spread His love and the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to everyone I possibly can. Because if there is any residual fear left at all in this area for me, it is for those who don’t yet know Christ as their personal Savior.

So to say I have no fear about the end times any longer (for myself and those I love who are saved by grace through Jesus) is completely and utterly true. For the first time in my life, I really understand what so many other Christians have been saying…..that we are to look forward to the rapture of the church with excitement and joy….that it’s a “blessed hope”, not something to be feared!

Part of what causes us to be able to do this is found by moving away from living for this world and this life, and fixing our eyes upon eternity. This is what my study in this area has done. But in reality, it has not been the studying that has brought this blessing into my life, but the movement of the Holy Spirit within me as I have spent time in the Word of God and prayed with the Lord about this subject. The LORD is responsible for this new found vision that I have, not me! It has been of GOD’S doing that I now have been refreshed and renewed in the knowledge of just how within our grasp a sight fixed on eternity, and a life spent with Him, is for us at this moment in time.

The time is now. The time has ALWAYS been now.

So I decided that would be a cool post to place on the blog – a post about why we need not have any fear when we think about the end times and the fact that we may already be living in the last days. I pondered how great of a thing that it is that we can begin a new year with no fear about this at all, and it is – it is truly awesome. Yet, as I prayed to the Lord about what He would have me share, He decided that wouldn’t be the main crux of the blog today. No, not at all. He put it on my heart instead to tell you something other than the fact that I have no fear about the end times, and that you need not fear either. He moved me to write about something even more important. It’s something that has to do with any fear we may experience at any time in our lives – not just in relation to the “end of the world.” Here’s the kicker:

He reminded me that the reality is, that I DO still have fear. And that I have plenty of it.

God shares a lot about fear with us in His Word. In fact, as I spent time reading the verses about this subject, I was at first quite overwhelmed by just how many there are. And then I realized that the reason God shares so very much with us about being afraid, is because WE ARE. We are afraid all the time. And that’s one of the many reasons why we need Him.

Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. NIV

Did you notice this verse says “WHEN I am afraid”?

Yes, God reminded me that to say I no longer have fear would just simply not be true. I do still fear many things and I am sure new ones will crop up for me to contend with in 2013. But what is most important, is not trying to pretend no fear exists, but what I will do with it when it arises within me.

Will I choose to look to God, lean upon Him, and ask Him to take care of it for me? Do I trust Him completely to help me to turn that fear into a challenging situation, but one that has peace laced within, around, and underneath it (HIS peace, that only HE can provide)? Or do I either pretend the fear isn’t really there (go into my bubble) or cave into it some other way (self-reliance, anyone)? Long term, God says we should not fear. We should recognize fear when it starts to seep into our lives and remember to turn to Him. Then we can live without that fear being a black cloud over our lives. We can experience the peace that He offers to us to carry us through the darker times.

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

To take hold of our right hand, we have to reach out in the first place. I often fall prey to not remembering how very important it is to “ask for help.” If we don’t go to the Lord and lean upon Him in fearful times, we will live with those scary things long-term, and they will overcome us one way or another. We must reach to Him to draw us up and out from the pit of despair, otherwise the fear becomes an inward cancer that can, and probably will, eat us alive. The Lord promises to help us, which in and of itself, is proof that we cannot do it alone. But we have to look to Him for that help. If we trust in Him, the unpleasant circumstance may not go entirely away, but we will have an underlying peace that will fight the good fight against the topical fears we are experiencing. Fear is a formidable enemy. Guess what? God is stronger.

So when I am fully honest with myself, I can anticipate lots of things I am afraid of in the new year we about to embark upon in this world. Let me list just a few of them here. You may be concerned about some of the same things that are on my list.

** Yes, I am concerned that more children may be brutally harmed or even murdered….
** Yes, I am concerned about what’s happening in the Middle East and what the fate will be of all who are not saved in our world…
** Yes, the fiscal cliff, Obamacare, tax hikes, businesses failing, the economy in general isn’t pleasant to think about….
** Yes, I have doubts about the moral fiber of our leadership in America and around the globe….
** Yes, terrorism, natural disasters, imploding countries, economic and moral collapse draws my attentive eye….
** And yes….more than anything, I grow more weary by the day about the fact that many are committed beyond belief to taking Christ out of our lives, our view, and our hearts!

** (I also have quite a nice list of petty fears too, my friends, so lest you be concerned that your list does not contend with such large-scale issues as what I just listed, you need not “fear”, as you are not alone…ha ha).

There is a lot to be concerned about….a lot to be afraid of…and a lot we could fear until our teeth perpetually chatter and we want nothing more than to roll up into the fetal position in a safe house somewhere. But truly, there is no “safety” without the Lord. NOTHING can take away what we have in Christ Jesus! I could die tomorrow, but that just propels me right into His arms for all eternity. So there you go.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
(NKJV)

So, I realize now that the message I needed to share today was not that we should focus upon having no fear, because we will. It is not to develop a thicker skin, because too many things continue to happen in our world, that if they didn’t get under that skin, that, in and of itself would be scary beyond belief! And although we should all do everything we can to shine the light of Jesus all around us, we can’t do that by ourselves either – because that light comes from HIM, not from us.

No – what I need to tell you is that beyond anything else we could possibly do, what’s most important is the following:

DRAW NEAR.

In the new year, instead of anticipating no fear, I implore you – choose to draw near. We need to draw near to the Lord, our God for strength!

Draw close to Him when you feel afraid. Pray to Him and sing His praises in every way you possibly can. Through the darkness, allow Him to shield you underneath His mighty wing and He will protect you. He will draw us away from evil and bring us “into His marvelous light.” Bad things may happen, to others or even to us…things that will cause us to grieve immensely…but He will be there. It’s a promise.

DRAW NEAR.

He is our strength, our light, our salvation, our protector.

DRAW NEAR.

He is our only safety.

DRAW NEAR.

He will be and IS our “Blessed Hope.”

We need only to DRAW NEAR.

Reach out your hands. Open up your hearts and your eyes. Embrace Your Savior with every last fiber of your being. And DRAW NEAR to Your Father God.

He hears your cries, He warms your hearts. And oh, how He loves you so!

May the Lord bless you and keep you….make His face shine upon you….and give you peace. Everlasting peace.

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NKJV

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Shine On

~ shine on you crazy diamond ~

~ shine on you crazy diamond ~ (Photo credit: @reviewne)

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my very favorite verses in God’s Word is about (what else?) illumination. It is found in Psalm 119:105….

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

As I look to this verse again today, I thought about several things in a different light than I had before. Isn’t it wonderful how God’s Word can do that for us? We can never fully exhaust all that it can teach us in life. This is yet another example of the utter majesty of our Lord and the love He has for us. His inspired Word fills us up according to where we are at in the moment, and where He wishes to guide and lead us. We can then turn back to that very same passage or verse at another time in life, and apply it to a completely different aspect of our circumstances or our spiritual growth. It never stops nourishing us. It continually ministers to us no matter how short or how long the passage happens to be.

Today I think of three things about this verse and how I can use that to move forward from where I am at.

The first is that this verse is actually about God’s Word itself. “Your word” is referencing the Word of the Lord, which is the entire Bible. The Bible is the way our Lord speaks to us. In it, He provides us with encouragement, guidance, direction, solace, commandments by which to live, and a knowledge of who He truly is. If we have any desire at all to know God, it would serve us well to spend time with Him in His Holy Word.

That “Word” is our primary source of light in this world. The marriage of the Word of God and prayer and time spent in His presence is a force to be reckoned with for certain. It will carry us through this life and on to eternity. It will help us to show His love towards others. And it will keep us on the right path, if we heed His voice as it lifts out of the pages we read and lodges itself into our hearts and minds. We can carry it with us anywhere. How awesome the Word of the Lord is!

Secondly, I think about the “lamp” and the “light” mentioned here. Both, in their simplicity, help us to visualize something that we all truly need in our lives – clear guidance and direction. I could expand on the importance of following the light of God versus that which is dark forever, but today I am thinking about it in it’s simplest form. For example, I am in a place in life right now where there are some uncertainties about just where my feet are actually taking me career-wise and ministry-wise. A lot may change, or it may not, but God has been prodding me to walk on (sometimes it feels more like shuffling) and start to turn the doorknobs of the doors I see along the way.

It is crucial right now that I have His light to help me see where I am going…to at least be able to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. And although I don’t see yet where the path I am on is leading, He is providing enough light for me go forward. I am so very thankful for this. Although I have tendencies to prefer to sprint, I must remember that trodding along is still far better than being bound up and completely immobile. God knows how fast (or slow) I should go.

Finally, I am thinking a lot today about the “path” in general. In the wider scope of things, we are on a lot of individual paths in our lives, yet we are on one overall spiritual path as well. Sometimes (right now in my life is one of those “sometimes”) I wish the path were broader – easier to follow – had a little breathing room for me to stretch out my arms, maybe lounge around under a nice and shady tree and have picnic – play some frisbee – you get the picture. It can be so hard at times to only have just enough light to see my feet and where the next step should be.

We like to run around like children and have wide, open spaces in which to play. But the path of the Lord is not always like that. More often than not, it is a narrow one. And there is a lot to be thankful for if we really look at that for what it truly means – if we are willing to see that for what it is and the blessings it entails. Staying on a narrow path helps to prevent us from getting ahead of ourselves and what the Lord’s will for us may be. It keeps us focused and assists us in avoiding “destruction” found in all the bright and shiny things that catch our eye on the periphery of the pathway. It prevents us from wandering aimlessly, and instead, blesses us with a journey spent in the company of our Savior.

We shouldn’t really be surprised about the fact that this path isn’t an open playground. God tells us Himself in Matthew 7:13-14 about the difficulty we will face following the narrow route in life…..

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

But although He tells us all about this in His Word, I often still find myself surprised by it. And then God fills me with the voice of the Holy Spirit and reassures me that it will be okay. He tells me that I can count my blessings if I feel like the walls are closing in on me a bit. He reminds me that although this is “difficult” and unpleasant right now, that it does indeed lead to “life” – and I don’t mean the free-roaming, wide open-spaces-type of life we could experience here on earth. I mean eternal life with Him, and a one that is so glorious that we cannot even begin to imagine it and do it any justice at all.

So for now, I will take it as a blessing that our Lord even provided me with a lamp at all with which to trudge through. I will be grateful that he gave me feet with which to travel and opened up a pathway for me to follow. I will thank Him abundantly for giving me His Word and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to carry me through and light the way. And if I have to stop and catch my breath once in a while, I know He will pick me up in His loving arms and carry me. For who other than Jesus Christ Himself knows what it is like to walk along the narrow path in an earthly life that shows little sign of God’s light and illumination? Who better than He to commune with inside of that very darkness. Spending time in His presence is the only true light that we have, my friends. And I choose to hold onto it with everything that I have. I will not let it go out. I will guard it with my life.

I think of the children’s song that will always ring through my ears as long as I walk this narrow path here on earth – and I realize that it’s up to me to do my best to keep His light from going out in relation to my own life and what I display to others along the way.

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine

Shine on, my “lamp unto my feet.” Shine on, oh “light unto my path.” Shine on, oh Jesus, my wonderful and mighty Savior. Shine on.

I Cried Out

(Photo:Rools)

         (Photo:Rools)

 

 

Sometimes, we have darker times to contend with in life. Other times, we are simply filled with joy, goodness, and happiness. But most of us can truly say that our life here on earth has been a stew-like mixture of the two. It’s never perfect, and often, it’s far from it.

If life were always a piece of cake, we might be bored (or at the very least, we would not stay physically fit). Sometimes, we have to deal with the vegetables in life, the absence of dessert, the exercise, and all the “good for us” things that we need to maintain (or get back to) a good level of fitness and health. Many times, if we have let ourselves go too far for too long, that means forming more healthy habits can be difficult, or even painful for a while. This holds true both physically and spiritually for each and every one of us.

This ends up raising some questions for us. Can we learn to lean upon God for the strength we need to embrace that pain and see it for what it is? Are we willing to trust in Him and the knowledge that He will give us what we need to move through the rough patches and come out the other side all the stronger? Are we willing to do the foot work required to take the steps that God would have us take in order to bring His will in our lives to come about? Or, are we simply after the bandaid of the quick sugar fix? It really is a choice on our part as to whether we will turn to Him in these difficult times or not.

Either way, whether we look to Him and His power to get through these trials or not, pain is still going to be there. One way or another, it is going to catch up to us. We are either going to spiral downward into the abyss of despair and remain there alone, or we will fight a good fight (which is still painful until it’s over) and pray that God lends His supernatural and mighty strength to us to pull out of the darkness and emerge stronger.

He does promise us that His strength shines all the brighter through our imperfection and weakness…..in fact, He says that we can even embrace those dark times because it is an opportunity for His power to become manifest in our lives…..

8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:8-10

Last April was a pretty difficult period in my life, and one in which I began to see the verse above in a completely different light. It was a time that only lasted for about two weeks in totality, and the worst of it spanned about three days. There have been many times in my life where I have been through grief and trials that lasted far longer than this. But this one was intense. I look back now and see how much grace and mercy the Lord showed me during this time. I don’t know that I could have endured it for much longer a period than it actually lasted. God always knows.

Some physical things that were going on in my body ended up placing me into a very depressed, and extremely scary state. This depression was very different than the kind I had experienced in the past – those had been things that could simply be explained due to circumstances that were happening at the time. But this didn’t seem like “situational” depression. This was physical…chemical…deep down within my core. And no matter how hard I fought, I could simply not speed up the process of coming out of it. It was escalating, becoming more unpredictable and erratic by the moment, and each time I thought I had reached the peak of it and was ready to come back from what I thought was the bottom, I spiraled further downward. I had absolutely no control over my body or my mind. It was unbelievably surreal.

My poor husband had to watch this over the weekend that it peaked in intensity. I cried to him for help, and he did all that he possibly could to be there for me. But it just would not get any better. I had to turn to God and cry out to Him in a much deeper way than I had been before. I knew that I would come out the other side if He chose to bring me there too. But there was always that chance that He may not choose to do so (for His own Godly reasons), and that was looking like a very strong possibility to both my husband and myself. And I had to accept that too. Whoa.

That moment when I realized I may never be the same (sanity-wise) again was a pivotal point in my life spiritually; To realize that nothing we have is not a gift from God. Everything comes from Him. Nothing is owed to Him. He owns our physical health, our next breath, and our sanity. He owns our children, our finances, our jobs, our lives, our minds, our bodies, everything. None of it is mine.

I grappled with some very serious questions once I had this little epiphany. Wow. What if I go deeper into this depression thing? What if I don’t come out of it this time? What if I lose my mind completely, have to be taken care of or even locked up in a hospital if this thing worsens? I found myself staring out into space for ten to twenty minutes at a time…not quite in a trance, but close. I felt like I was watching myself from the outside, like watching a movie. I felt like one of those folks that is catatonic…that have just completely checked out of reality or moved within themselves into their own little world. I found myself holding conversations, with no problem whatsoever, then suddenly having to remove myself to another room and literally being on the floor, my body shaking, literally heaving with overbearing grief and sobs of remorse.

But the worst part of it was that I could not figure out what was going on here. There was NOTHING wrong in my life, my friends. I was happy in my family life and marriage. My kids and husband were solid and happy in their lives. Everything was going okay with all of the people in the world that I loved. I was content at my work. I loved my church life and felt closer to God than ever before. Sure, I was going through some hormonal changes (they call it perimenopause, and it stinks), but how bad should that kind of thing be? Don’t women by the multitudes go through this all the time? Hasn’t it been a part of a woman’s life for generation upon generation? Why should it put me on the floor? I just could not understand it.

Although I didn’t feel very good about it, I realized that I had to accept that only time would tell what would happen here, and that it truly would be up to God as to the outcome. Honestly, I had exhausted every single thing within my control in dealing with it on my own, with my doctor’s help, and by speaking to my husband about it over and over again. I had sought wise councel, gotten help medically, changed things in my lifestyle, and other things as well. But it just wasn’t getting better. In fact, it was getting much worse.

I decided that I couldn’t do much more than to ask the Lord to meet me where I was at and take it literally moment by moment. I decided to do what He says to in His word…cry out to Him and Him alone. I decided that He may bring me out to the other side, and He may not, but that it wouldn’t hurt to plead my case. But I also decided, that although I really wanted to have it go away, and I really wanted Him to decide to deliver me from this (which He did, two days later), that if He chose not to, I would belive with all my heart that He would stay with me no matter what. This, was what was most important to me. To know that no matter what, God would not leave me alone. That He would be with me…sane or not.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Psalm 107:19-20

God taught me through this difficult trial that it’s imperative to pray for things to happen according to His will. He showed me that as badly as we want something, that we must yield to His will in the matter. Thankfully, for me, in this situation, God did choose to deliver me from this depression and bring me back to my feet again. But one day, whether it’s depression or something else, He may not make the same choice. Jesus Himself had to face that as well. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed…

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

Here is the poem I wrote to the Lord on that day. It sums up my heart during this depression. It was the most desperate cry for help that I think I have ever uttered. And God, in His grace and mercy…well, He answered.

**********************************************************************************************************************************************
The Meeting Place – April 2012

Take me away God, take me away
From the darkness, the pain and the cold.
Save me, protect me, guide me and lead me
Onto You, Father, I just need to hold.

Take me away Lord, take me away
Let me cling to Your glory, see Your face.
Shining upon me, guarding, You love me
Wipe away all my tears without trace.

Bring me back God, oh please, bring me back
To the place where You seep out of me.
Where Your spirit breathes life, fills the holes
Where You live, anywhere I may be.

Bring me back God, bring me on back
To those who need me, who love and who care.
Help me to let You fight all of my battles
Every time, every place, everywhere.

Take me away from a worldly life, God
Dearest Father, please live through me here.
Bring me back to a place where both things can happen
Living this life, but with You always near.

Meet me here God, oh please, meet me here
Where with You, all glorious and mighty things come.
Take me to the summit and lend me Your vision
In my weakness, your strength’s not outdone.

Take me away, bring me back, then meet me here
Every one of these rolled into one.
Oh Father, don’t let me forget who You are,
All you’ve given me, through Jesus, Your Son.

My Father, You take all of my breath away
I’m in awe of Your majesty, Your grace.
You bring me back to the earth when I need it
And You meet me here, in this very place.

Back, yet Forth

I am a runner – well, actually, I am more of a jogger – but I still love it and feel like I am just as taken with it as any awesome marathon runner I know. I may not be as dedicated, and I am certainly not as adept at it as most, but it is definitely one of the things I enjoy most in my life, and I am very committed to doing it.

I can’t say it enough: I LOVE to jog.

Jogging is the time that I get to have to myself, just to allow my thoughts to dump out of my brain, achieve a semblance of clarity in my mind life, to purge the toxins from my body, and it also serves as time well-spent as I get into “the zone” and think about my Savior, my family, my loved ones, and my friends. Running is just plain good for you. And it is such an absolute blessing in my life. It is not my God, but it is a gift that the Lord has given to me, and I find great joy in doing it. Thank you, Jesus.

Like any runner knows, there are times that we have to push onward in order to finish the race. This is when we must really gut it out, dig deep down within for every last ounce of strength that we may possess, and push our bodies harder than we ever thought possible. Many times this comes down to mind over matter and sheer will and determination. But without a strong foundation, without having been dedicated to a solid training plan, this alone will probably not be sufficient to get us to the finish line.

You really can’t fake your way out of this one. If you haven’t done the work, you probably won’t achieve the result that you want. It ALL matters. The plan. The commitment to that plan. Time on your feet. Avoidance of injury. Getting enough rest. Following a good eating plan to enhance your performance. Listening to your body. Listening to that still, small, but powerful inner voice. And going out and “just doing it.” You can take this to a high level (run all the time and train for full-on marathons) or you can keep it lower key, but you will still have to be well-rounded like this in order to remain consistent and make running a long-term part of your life.

And I got to thinking about this today; shouldn’t our relationship with our Savior be this way as well? It should be one in which we are fully committed – where we don’t call upon Him only when we need Him, or look upon Him as just some genie in a bottle that we can or should be able to summon whenever it happens to suit us. It needs to be a two-way relationship, and we need to do our part to live out that relationship daily for it to be so.

For me, that means training properly. That means spending the time with Him in prayer that is necessary to help me remain with Him at all times. It also means being in His word (the Bible, His love letter to us). It means fellowship with other Christians (His church). It means service to others. It means taking time to celebrate His joy and the gift of salvation that He freely offers and that I get to bask in every single day. And, not least of all, it means sharing Him with others.

When we don’t remain committed to that day in and day out relationship time with our Savior, we risk injury and stagnation. We risk hitting that spiritual wall. God reminds us to seek Him first, and to make sure that everything else we do simply enhances our relationship with Him and brings Him glory. He promises to increase our joy on this earth and in the earthly pleasures He wants for us to enjoy if we put Him first in our lives.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Sometimes we just hit a wall in our life here on earth. It happens. You have probably heard the tales that most marathon runners have shared about such grisly occasions. When you hit this wall in the world of running, you either find the way to push through and persevere, or you have to scale back and walk a while. It all just depends. It depends on what your body AND what your mind can do.

But there are also times in the life of a runner in which they must scale back a bit. This can happen due to injury, sure. But it can also be a part of the master plan to take performance to the next level. For example, to increase my endurance, speed, or time on my feet, I occasionally do speed work, or sprints. One or two such sessions a week can go a long way to making me able to run faster on my longer runs, or just be able to run for a longer period of time. And although I have yet to complete a full marathon since I have been consistently running again in these last couple of years, I do want to someday. (Or at least get VERY good at completing some half marathons on a pretty regular basis…ha ha).

As I was running (uh-hem…I mean jogging) again today, I was thinking about how very many things in my life lately have come down to being willing to listen to God’s voice inside of my heart about whether to sprint forward with all my might, or step back for a moment and regain my strength and composure. And God has definitely shown me a pattern He has held true to in my life of late – one in which I take what may look like a “backward” step, but that inevitably gives me what I need to spring forward into fulfilling His will in my life in a deeper and more true way.

Taking that step back not only gives me time to soak in God’s energy and listen to His voice before I move forward again, but it often helps me to gain new perspective about just what it means to step up in life. So many decisions I have made lately, with God’s divine and merciful help, have been ones that the world might tell me were steps back – things that look by all accounts, as if I am moving in a backward motion, down the ladder, hitting rewind and staying put. But in reality, God has just been preparing me to spring forward in this earthly life according to His will for me. Although these things (trials) can be difficult and somewhat stressful at times, this has been nothing but a blessing in the “long run”. And they have all been lessons in humility for sure.

The lowlier we become, the more humble we can be, and the more like Jesus we are. Lately, all too often, if the world hates it, I know I may be on the right running track. If it looks backward to the world, it is forward with Christ. I am gaining a whole new understanding of what it truly means to live for God and not for this world. And I can’t be grateful enough that the Lord continues to open my eyes in this area. It will be a life-long process, I am sure. But a cool adventure it shall be!

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26

So, as I finished my jog today I felt satisfied. I felt fulfilled. I felt good about the knowledge that stepping back from life can help us to spring forward with Christ. Yet there are many things still in my life currently that I haven’t achieved resolution about yet – and that’s okay. I am listening for God’s direction in my life. I am keeping my eyes wide open. And I am spending time nurturing my relationship with Him. I am sure that some of these miniature races I am running or participating in will be ones in which I hit the wall. For some, He may help me to realize I need to take a step back and muster up the strength I need (HIS strength, not MINE) to spring forward. And there will be others in which it is decided that I am to drop out of the race completely and reevaluate His plan for me or re-vamp my training program completely. While still others will be ones in which He asks me to push through the wall with the last ounce of strength that I have. And that strength will need to come from Him, not me. I know He will provide it.

So today, I must remind myself: There are some races I will get to finish with flying colors. And there are some I just won’t be able to finish at all. Some will be learning lessons in which I stand corrected and have to scale back and ponder just what caused me to need to throw in the towel. Was it a good thing, or was it due to lack of discipline and commitment on my part? I won’t know until I get there. But I do trust that God will tell me what I need to know, as long as I look to Him for the answers. And that, is what completing the race is really all about.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Yes, I will complete this race in life. And I will do it with the help that only my Savior can provide. He alone gives us the strength and endurance to step back, while moving forward into His light and love.

True Sight

This life and eternity, well they’re not one in the same.
And what’s in-between, really doesn’t have a name.
We walk around, in the light, yet it’s dark
And think we know truth, but we’re not that smart.

We think we know much, it’s a common confusion
But what we do know can just stink of illusion.
I can look in a mirror and think that I see
A reflection of Christ, but it’s really just me.

Just what does this show us? It shows little at all!
And what we think’s big could really be small.
And why do we think with just our eyes we can see,
All of the truth of just how “life” could be?

Sometimes I just think that if we were all blind
We’d then look to our hearts and not just our minds –
And discern what is real and find truth in this place
And know of God’s love as we come face-to-face.

For this in-between, well, it doesn’t matter most.
It’s just a short stop before we meet the Heavenly Host.
And that’s if we decide to make our own choice
To live in His love, and listen closely for His voice.

It guides us to walk strong, instead of just wander.
It helps us have purpose, our time we won’t squander.
And reside in the joy that only He, Christ can bring –
Inside of our hearts His clear voice, it will sing!

Then when I look in that mirror, I may get to truly see
To realize fully that He is living there, not me.
HE needs to shine through, emanate HIS true reflection,
Now my in-between can be marked by HIS heavenly direction.

To see Him with clear eyes, no longer be bleary!
And await heavenly communion while helping those weary.
Anticipating new life where we really do know –
All of the things that our Savior, Lord Jesus can show.

No longer just reflection, but a clear and present face,
It shines all around us, we’re forever in His grace!
And this short stop in life that we had while being here,
Just served to move us onward, and eternity, it is near.

So common confusion, well it’s just not for me.
I want what’s real truth, and to have clarity.
I want to walk fully within Christ’s real and eternal light.
I desire for only Jesus to offer me HIS true sight.

And I Will Look Up

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In Psalm 5, David is coming to the Lord in the morning to receive God’s strength and joy to prepare him for all that’s at hand. He know that he needs this to even make it through the coming day, as he was standing against many adversaries, obstacles, and challenges that seemed insurmountable to him. This became a day to day process for David, one that served not only to provide him with the support and guidance he truly needed from the Lord, but that also helped him to remember what was of the utmost importance in his life – his relationship with his Father God.

Would it not be great if we all did this first thing each morning? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could remember that we need God’s guidance and support to carry us through any and every thing we may face? Wouldn’t it be freeing if we realized that to face the day, whether in light of seemingly huge roadblocks we perceive to be in our way, or mundane tasks, scheduling conflicts, and irritable moods, that the most important thing for us to do is to remember to set our eyes upon Jesus? Everything is better if we can only look up. Everything.

The first part of the Psalm says……

“Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.”

This is such a great example of seeking out our Lord and His presence in our lives by committing to looking for Him in all that we do and all that we face. Can’t you just hear the worship intermingled with the pleading in David’s prayer? This is exactly what the Lord wants and needs from us. In crying out to Him, we are actually worshipping Him as well. We are telling Him that we know that we need Him. We are asking Him for what only HE can provide. We are conveying that we trust Him above all else. We are coming to Him in the exact way that He asks us to – like a father – a daddy – our Abba Father. What Father doesn’t want for his child to come to him to meet his needs? And what Father doesn’t then want to do all that He can to fulfill those very needs…to assuage those cries….to wrap His arms around His child as he faces all that is coming towards him in life? Our Father wants to stand alongside us in every single thing we do. He wants to be there for us. He knows we cannot do it on our own.

Committing to seek His will in our lives day by day, and keeping our eyes wide open for what He may wish to share as we listen back; that is the essence of life, friends. It inspires us to glorify our Savior and look for Him in all we gaze upon throughout the remainder of the day – even the bad stuff. It strengthens us to be able to see that we can look outside of ourselves and our own agendas toward our Heavenly Papa and what He would have us do today to bring glory to His kingdom. It prepares us to face the day with a new perspective, one in which we know that we are taken care of, so we are now more equipped to love upon and care for others. We are equipped to be filled with love and share that love with everyone with whom we interact. And we don’t have to do it alone. Cool.

Jesus tells us in John 13:34-35……

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

David knew that he needed to “cry out” first to be equipped to do just that. He knew he needed to share his voice and heart with God and pray. And he knew that in doing it all, he had to “look up.” Truly, we must replenish ourselves in Christ anew each and every day in order to be equipped to carry out this commandment to love. He doesn’t ask us to love merely and mildly, as we humans would do. He asks us to love one another as HE loved US. And that is no small task if we really look at that love for what it truly is.

Today, may God renew your strength as you face the day. May He bless you as you cry out to Him and ask for His presence and light to shine upon you. And may you share that light, that love with others, so that “all will know that you are his disciple.” May this be a shining example to others who so desperately need to look up to their Abba Father. Let’s look up. Let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face. And may His shining glory rain down upon us each and every day.

Look up, my Friends. Look up.

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Who Walks on Water?

Dear Friends ~

Tonight, after praying for the families in CT who have been recently stricken with stabbing pain and unimaginable loss, as well as for other families who have lost loved ones in other horrible tragedies over the years, our pastor reminded us of one very important thing:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.

It is so important to “weep with others when they weep”, yes this is true. And it is also important that these things shake us beyond comprehension when they happen, this too is true. And being overwhelmed by grief is a normal and natural part of who we are, that is true.  But being enveloped in overwhelming grief is one thing, and one that is completely understandable…..and being totally overcome by evil is quite another. If we allow that, the enemy wins.

This is no easy task, especially when we consider our human nature, the array of emotions we experience when overwhelmed with grief and sadness – the mind-bending task of wrapping one’s mind around the fact that parents will never see their own children again while living on this earth – along with a multitude of other reasons. However, God specifically placed this verse in his word for us.  We cannot allow it to cause us to cave into evil….to change who we decide to be in the face of that evil, or to allow it to be an excuse for exhibiting that very same type of stance in the world towards one another. So this leads me to realize that God has a very good reason for placing this verse into his word for us.

What might that reason be? As I ponder this tonight, I think about the simplicity of this verse yet how it is intertwined with the monumental complexity of actually living it out, especially during times like this. What I thought about all evening was this: It’s not about keeping score. We cannot possibly measure our success in doing good by the guaranteed outcome 100% of the time that nothing bad or evil will ever still happen if we simply return evil with goodness. Yet God still admonishes us to persevere and do it.

As I thought about this further I realized that “overcoming” evil with good does not mean then, that we will eradicate all evil from this world due to our acts of kindness, compassion, or goodness of any form. But by doing good in the face of evil, we can and do overcome it spiritually. which yields a far greater and far more lasting result than what we could tally up here on this planet during the limited time we live here.

It’s about a mindset, a way of living, during times of grief and during times of great joy. It’s not some simple thing we do once in a while because it happens to be easy for us to do that day. It’s about living it out day in and day out, when we feel like it and when we don’t. And it’s about helping others and stepping up to the plate when it’s their turn to be in crisis and they aren’t necessarily able to overcome anything during that time. It’s about carrying one another through the fire, the pain, and the suffering to the other side. And most of all, it’s about doing so by reaching deep within for GOD’s power to give us the strength to carry out this task. Because trying to do it on our own is fruitless.

I think what’s happening in our world is a true testimony of that, don’t you?

I believe it to be true that if we were all to not only believe in this way God tells us to live, but carry it out as well (with diligence and in the face of the worst adversity we can imagine) that yes, we would indeed see some tangible results of overcoming evil around us as well. But mostly, we must weigh in the fact that we may not. We may still continue to see this vile and sick downward spiral in our moral fabric, our culture, our treatment of one another world wide, senseless acts of violence, people being cut short, innocents being slaughtered anyway. Sound morbid? Please read on.

So why do it? Because God is far smarter than any of the rest of us (what an understatement) and he tells us to do it. And I think I am inclined to trust that. God doesn’t make statements lightly. If he found it valuable enough to place it into his word which has stood the test of time and trial, it is clearly valuable and to be followed.

If any of you are parents, you know in a very real way how hard it is sometimes to have to limit your child from doing something they so very badly want to do. Something that you know would not be good for them. Something they see no reason they shouldn’t be able to do, that maybe other friends, family members, school officials, other parents, or anyone else you may wish to name might even tell you that is okay for them to do. Something that on the surface, may not seem “bad” or dangerous, or even wrong morally in any way, shape or form, but that you, being that child’s parent, just KNOW innately is not a good idea. It is wrenching and difficult to stand firm in the face of that, and at times, feel like the mean cop parent, the bad guy, and feel totally alone in the process. But you do what is right in spite of all that. Because that’s what a good parent does. That’s what a loving parent does.

Well, that is our Father God in relation to us. And he knows what we need to do for our own good. And he even tells us what that is.

Yes, there are things that are mysterious about God – but again, in relation to this I say the very same thing; he keeps those things a mystery for our own good and he will reveal the answers to those mysteries in good time and when it’s good for us to know. Period.

In the meantime I personally, am going to commit myself to try my best to abide by the things he does not keep a mystery from us. Things like what it says in that wonderful verse – to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. In my heart, in my mind, in my actions, in my attitudes, in what I share, in what I don’t share, in what I write, read, view, show to others. I will fail, but I will continue to try. And I trust God that we can overcome.

I do not believe we can change the entire course we are on here on earth. Yes, some things can change, and we need to take ownership of praying and trying to impact that. But it’s important to remember that ultimately, the true “end game” is not fully in our hands.  This is my opinion. And God will make his eternal plans for us come to fruition in his timing, not ours. Our time on this planet is but a drop in the ocean of life.

In the meantime, we can overcome evil with good action, at least in our hearts and minds and souls. And if the results don’t manifest themselves outwardly to the extent we would like, it’s important to look for them. We need to look for where God does indeed show himself, both outside of ourselves, and within one another. We must look at what good we can do here in this life but keep our focus on what is beyond this life here on earth and upon eternity. Because truthfully, our lives here are only important in light of how it impacts where we actually are going to spend that eternity.

He is there in the teachers. He is there in the first responders to the tragedy in Connecticut. He is there in the smiling faces that are forever imbedded in our memory banks of all the children we have lost in this world. He is there in the face of the homeless man in the street, the old widow who gives her last penny to feed the hungry, the volunteers and missionaries around the world who spread His word and light to others. He is there in the light reflected from our Christmas trees, the stars in the sky, and the laughter of a child or the cry of a newborn babe. He is there. He wants to live within us…all of us…He wants to be there shining His face upon us….to give us peace.

Yes, this life It is just one drop of water in the ocean of eternity. I plan to float face up in that ocean and bask in the soothing and cooling waves of Jesus as his love washes over me forever and ever more.

In the meantime, there are times to splash, and there are times to tread, there are times to doggie paddle, and there are times to do the breast stroke, but we cannot ever give up (be completely overcome) and allow ourselves to sink and drown completely. It’s just not an option.

Friends, it always has been time to lean upon Jesus. It has always been time to be there to hold one another up during times of joy and times of utter and complete sorrow, grief and desperation.  And now, for certain, it’s time to keep our life jackets handy. Jesus is my life jacket. I hope he is yours as well.  After all, only HE could walk on water. And He will carry us through to the other side.
Anne 🙂

Jingle all the …..Hey?!!!

‘Tis the Season to be jolly, right?  Yes, it’s that time of the year to spread our good cheer as we go along our (Merry?) little way.  But lately, I find myself doing something more like dashing through the woe, instead of the snow, and I have to tell you, that’s not very holly jolly, my friends!

I warn you now…this one is kind of long. Because it’s hard for me to open my eyes very wide on this one without going through quite a little process.

The last couple of days, I have, like most of the rest of you, been out and about trying to “get through” some Christmas shopping. Every year, no matter how I approach it, I end up feeling stressed and somewhat panicked as Christmas day approaches ever closer, even though I am fully aware that it is not about the presents and the treats! But I still need to go out and buy them, right? Because I do like to share gifts with others as a way of celebrating our Savior’s birth.

So why have I been in such a bad mood about it all? Why do I set out every single December saying to myself “I am going to keep the reason for the season in mind this year and not get stressed about any of it….I’m keeping the Christ in Christmas, and that’s all there is to it! I will go shopping with joy in my heart for the opportunity I am being given to celebrate Jesus in a special way.” But it hasn’t been happening quite that way (again, sigh) and tonight, I am thinking about just why that is.

Our merry little way isn’t always so “merry” is it? As I was shopping yesterday, trying to go store to store to take care of my sweet little list of well-thought out and heartfelt presents for those that I love in my life, I started to notice how grumpy everyone around me was. The employees at the stores would say “have a nice day,” and I could see what they really meant was “get out of my way.” People at the drive thru lines (when I would be there to get some coffee or something to drink – poor me, right?) were short and rude, didn’t look me in the eye, and displayed an overall sense of grumpiness and resentment that I was there adding to their long line of customers waiting for them to serve them. And let’s not even talk about how people were acting on the roads as they drove to their individual destinations.

Yep, everyone else’s poor mood was definitely impacting little ol’ me. Sniff. Was it my fault that they were rubbing off on me in such a horrible way? How could I be responsible for the fact that time and time again, when I encounter this type of discouraging behavior towards me, that after a while, I end up becoming grumpy and a little angry myself? Don’t they know that I need to have a nice day? Don’t they know what I might be going through and how this is impacting me? Why can’t everyone else just be nice, and then we (cough, cough, I ) can all have a decent day? Hmph!!!

And then Jesus reminded me……………just like He always does………….

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

Whoa. I sit here in wonder and awe once again, at my utter and complete selfish nature. I sit here thinking about the fact that I know this stuff and I know better, and I realize with everything that I am that it is up to me to act in love regardless of how others around me may be acting. I sit here and think, “how can you be so dense, Anne, after all this time to still not see it coming?” To still be in that place where I don’t see it at all! Where I don’t realize that it’s time to think outside of myself, especially when it’s time to truly be celebrating our Savior’s birth and all that He sacrificed during his life here walking this planet, and on the cross…for us.

Now, let me digress for just a moment here. Some of you may be thinking that I am being awfully hard on myself right about now. But I beg to differ. Why should we be held to a lower set of expectations than Jesus held Himself to? Believe me, I will not dwell on the negative aspect of this realization about myself forever, so if you are worried about that, please be reassured that I will be using this little life lesson to change and be more joyful, not to dwell in the abyss of self-condemnation. But to do that, I have to take a hard look in the mirror sometimes – and that means being a little hard on myself for just a few moments. That means opening my eyes to see the reality of what work it is that really needs to be done here. And opening our eyes is hard at times. They sting until we adjust our line of vision. Things become more clear once we look towards Christ. And that is exactly what I am doing right now.

So let’s get back to our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. HE didn’t cry and complain about how others around him were “affecting his mood” and HE certainly didn’t allow it to change how masterfully He displayed true love and compassion, affection and joy towards those very people. Not only that, but He even allowed Himself to suffer at the hands of those people; essentially at the hands of you and me. Of all of mankind; Of the entire world!

But He stood strong and firm in His love for us. And He still stands strong now. He is waiting, always, to equip us to do the same. Wow. What a wonderful and Mighty Savior we have, indeed.

Here I am thinking “poor me…the mean guy at the drive thru!” The fact I even have the luxury of going to a drive thru, of having food to eat at all, at having the money and the time to go out and exhibit acts of kindness for those that I love and give them nice presents? And here I am complaining within myself!

Beyond the fact that it’s time for a heart check today about all of this, and beyond the fact that I should appreciate what I have and what I am capable of doing, what is more important is the burning question of “what did I do to bring joy to others today?” Did I look them in the eye and truly smile from my heart? Did I mean it when I said (if I even bothered to say it at all) “how are you?” Did I conjure up a beaming smile from deep within and display God’s love and joy to others and wish them a truly Merry Christmas? Did I thank them for all they do for us each and every day at their job and through their acts of service? Did I pull aside or slow down or speed up a little to make someone’s experience on the crowded roads a little easier? Did I really even bother? Did I really show I care?

The answer is a resounding “no.” At least, not enough. I gave up. I threw up my hands. And in that, I somewhat failed. But there is great joy to be had in the face of that failure, because God brings correction into our lives and helps us to press further in to what we know to be true and turn that into good action for change if we only do the asking. And it is all for His glory!

If we never fail at anything, we don’t realize we still need work, we don’t get that reminder (that we definitely need, quite often) that we still, and will always need God, that we still need to stay vigilant about showing His light and love to others, day in and day out, moment by moment, in every smile, every look, every “how are you” in every.single.solitary.thing.

In this, lies true joy and true “success” in living out the Christian life and the calling that the Almighty has placed into our hearts and minds, because it reminds us of just who we can really be in Christ if we only allow Him to do His special and magnificent work in us, even and especially through our failures.

I think of Philippians 2:3-4 as I prepare to close my thoughts on this tonight…..

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

In a world that loves the motto “it’s all about me” this is hard to do, to say the very least. It is far easier to blame it all on everyone else. It’s convenient to say “I tried, but everyone else brought me down.” It’s simple to hide behind an excuse like “well, I decided to just shut down a little because I was getting in a bad mood and not saying anything was just better.” It’s tempting to think about employing the principle of “if you don’t have anything nice to say (or do) then just don’t say (or do) anything at all.” But that’s not the whole truth. That’s not God’s full will for us. That’s just halfway, if even that. And that’s just far too easy.

I talk to myself here more than anyone else when I say that we are specifically told by God we have to try – all the time, not some of the time, or just when it’s easy for us. We are asked to go far beyond just “not being mean back.” We are asked to basically suck it right on up, my friends, regardless of what others do or don’t do and to even put them before ourselves – especially when we don’t feel like it!

Trust me, I get it – we certainly are not Jesus! But we are asked to try to be like Him (what better calling can there be than that?). We are asked to allow Him to work through us to show His love to others and glorify His name. And even if we never get to see the results, even if it makes us very weary, even if others decide to punish us for it, He promises that He will work His will into the world and in each of our lives for good. But we have to do our part. Annie definitely has to do her part, and has a long way to go!

Jesus sacrificed Himself for every single sin and wrong-doing that we ever committed or will ever commit. He willingly took that punishment upon the cross in order to cover all of our sin. He was spit upon, mocked, whipped, beaten, and then crucified. But he did rise again. And he reigns in heaven, and he reigns within us!

And my little “punishment” today was that some guy in a store or a drive thru didn’t smile back at me.

Seems pretty trivial when I really look at it. When I truly open my eyes and look at it in the whole of it all, I see that it’s actually a blessing. I have it pretty good; I have it exceptionally good. That is God’s grace in action, truly it is. He’s just placing that opportunity right there on a silver platter for the taking. He uses things that seem uncomfortable or unfair, trivial things in all reality, to bless us and bring us closer to HIM and closer to being able to be like HIM. Unbelievable. Unfathomable. I can’t wrap my mind around that kind of love – not fully. But I sure do appreciate it. And I sure do want to be able to display even just a glimmer of that towards others.

So today my friends, Annie’s making a list. She’s checking it twice. And she’s going to decide not to be naughty ~ she’ll be nice. Especially when she doesn’t feel like it.

Seeing with all our Senses

(Photo:Carunan)

(Photo:Carunan)

Today I begin my journey into the world of blogging with a heart filled with anticipation and trepidation all at the same time. The Lord has really put it on my heart to reach out to others by sharing some of the wonderful things He has done in my life, my family, and how He has enriched us all as human beings. This has come about through many experiences that have been joyful, painful, difficult, enlightening ~ the good, the bad and the ugly ~ it’s all there! We are blessed. We are definitely blessed. And we look forward to continuing to experience God’s love and lessons for us in the many days to come.

In thinking about the majority of what it is that I wish to share over time, I realize that almost all of it falls under one common denominator: That is the importance of seeking God’s truth in our lives through everything we undergo and within everything for which we strive.

Sometimes, if we rely solely on our eyes to see truth in our world, we fail to ever really “see” anything of value at all. It is impossible to think that we can seek what is real only by relying upon one physical sense. To be truly aware, we  must employ much more than this – we have to reach deep within ourselves and do frequent heart checks, as well as look outside of ourselves towards the Lord for strength in order to find all that we can to help us seek His truth.

But so often, if we dig down really deep, the reality is that maybe we just don’t truly want to see the whole truth about things. I know that if I am truly honest with myself, I find that I like to live in that comfortable little bubble I have created and live in a large majority of the time – ’cause it feels nice and warm and soft – it just feels good. Yet I feel I have a responsibility to burst that bubble if it means it will help me to walk in God’s truth. So what my flesh wants definitely isn’t always what’s comfortable or even right – of this I am quite certain.

Our bubbles are made up of the truths that are convenient or comfortable for us wherever we happen to be in life right now. Yes, occasionally we will allow possibly one small thing to enter that is a bit awkward or daunting, but it’s usually something that doesn’t pollute the amniotic waters of said bubble too terribly much. But it’s time to rock the boat.

I, as much as anybody, want to be comfortable. I don’t like change, I don’t enjoy heart ache, pain or sorrow, and I certainly don’t like not feeling in control (yes, I do have control issues, my friends!). But what I want more than anything now in my life – what God has really inspired me about, is to walk in His truth. And to do that, I realize that discomfort is going to become a large part of my “real” world from this day forward.

But make no mistake, I fully realize that this will take courage, and a type of courage I do not possess on my own. We have to be brave to commit to seeing with all of our senses. And by doing so, we will see some very scary things. To be sure, it will open our eyes to the whole of truth if we ask God to bless us in seeking it. But it’s important to realize that in seeking truth – the absolute whole of it – we will see some things, experience some things, that just aren’t “feel goods.”  Kinda goes against the grain of what our world values, don’t you think? But I truly believe the blessings in that far outweigh the heartache and discomfort. And I want to be like Jesus – and He was not a fan of going with the ways of this world – comfort or not!

As I ponder this today, I am reminded that God promises that He will provide all the courage and support that we need in anything that we do as long as we rely upon HIM, HIS strength, and HIS supernatural and almighty power. If we rely solely upon ourselves (hello, control issues once again!) we are doomed to fail. And we are pretty certain to return right back to that comfortable little bubble. He tells us in his word just what we can count upon when we rely upon him to carry us through:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but (He has given us a spirit) of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

For those of you who wish to join me in this endeavor, may God bless you abundantly for wanting to see His truth with all of your senses. May He keep us strong and build us up so we can bring greater glory to His kingdom as we share those truths with one another. May the “bursting of the bubble” be a time of great celebration and joy as we emerge as newborns from the warm and comfortable womb into a whole new world….a world laced with the beauty of our Father in heaven, a world seen through the eyes of the Mighty and Great “I Am”.

I am ready to see it all – and He will reveal it to me in His perfect timing – as long as I open far more than my eyes.