Yet Still Today

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A couple of months ago I hit a new low in regard to my health. It reached a place where I could not continue on the way things were and I had to go out on leave from work for about six or seven weeks. So these last weeks have been spent in rest and recuperation, nesting around my home, and moving through the days one at a time.

Blessings have come, yet my health is still a thorn in my side, friends. Yes, I am better in some ways, but the monster is always there ~ simply looming and waiting, teeth exposed and jaws flapping, eyes squinting and piercing and ugly mouth salivating ~ just always right there and waiting to chomp.

But Jesus is here too, and although the monster tries to give me a run for my money, it is simply no match for my Savior.

I am His.

Yet still today…………

  • Today I return to work, to a new and better work situation which is a blessing (a miracle, actually) yet I find myself in a strange place.
  • Today I am finding myself anxious when I know that I shouldn’t be.
  • Today I am wishing I could continue on the way I have been these past six weeks or so.
  • Today I am finding myself feeling discontent even before anything has changed or happened.
  • Today I am fearful and feeling guilty because that must mean I am not trusting in Him.
  • Today I am looking at what might be yanked away from me instead of seeing the blessing that the Lord has provided to make dealing with the ugly a little bit less ~ ugly.
  • Today I am already feeling guilty that I have all of these feelings.

What will this new season in life regarding my new work situation really mean for me and my family? Will I be able to do a good job without compromising my health? Can I let go of the expectations I have always had of myself to perform to the utmost of my ability and just simply do a GOOD job? Is that enough?

What if it doesn’t work out? What then?

I am His.

In so many ways I am a glass half full girl, while in others I am quite the opposite. I wish I could just pick one and be it, but that’s not the way it works for me. When I am the half empty kinda gal, I know I am simply trying to be honest and practical and realistic, yet I feel guilty for being less than positive about things. When I’m in half full mode, I feel great about looking at things as positively as possible, yet worry I am placing too much faith and hope in whether things turn out good or not.

It’s not about that and I know it.

It’s about trusting in Him no matter what things come, how things work out or don’t work out, and knowing without question that no matter what, He never changes.

Neither does this:

I am His.

So today I do not find myself looking at the glass one way or another. I find myself looking past the glass and unto Jesus, friends. I am reaching for His hand and trusting Him to pave the way for me. I am believing that He already has this covered and will reveal to me all that He has for us. I am hoping in Him and that He will help me to keep what truly matters at the top of my priority list.

That’s the part that is far more than half full. My cup runneth over.

Because…….

I am His.

Do you know that you are His no matter what happens to you? In the face of the unknown or difficulty or trials, do you know that Jesus never changes and is always by your side? Can you bring yourself to His feet and turn that thing over to Him even before you have your emotions straightened out? That’s the way it’s supposed to be anyway, friends ~ we can come to Him just as we are. It’s always been that way and remains that way ~

Yet still today.

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 23:5

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Peace for this Piece ~ A Prayer Request for Kara’s Loves

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Last night, I went to bed with a piece of my heart that felt kind of out of place, jumbled up, and twisted in several knots. I then woke up this morning and the first thought that came to my mind was of Kara Tippets and her loves ~ particularly her beautiful little family and one of her dearest friends who I call friend as well, my Shellie.

To say that my heart hurts for them today, friends? Well, that is quite simply a major understatement.

As many of you already know, Kara Tippetts went home to be with Jesus yesterday, and her loves are hurting. Her husband, her beautiful four children, and her many, many friends ~ they have a different feeling in their hearts today than they did prior to yesterday. I would venture to guess that it feels like it’s being squeezed, and squeezed hard.

And that is a hurt that one can only understand if they have been there.

But there is peace in this piece of things too…

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Kara allowed Jesus to speak to us through her in so very many ways, friends. She spoke much about The Hardest Peace and even wrote a book titled as such ~ about the peace we find in Jesus in the midst of suffering, hardship, heartache, and even when all the pieces of this puzzle we call life seem to be shattering all around us.

But she always returns to Jesus ~ always returns to His grace and His peace, His joy and His love ~ no matter how many pieces of us seem to be crumbling down to the floor.

He makes us whole even when we seem to be falling apart.

And there is peace in that piece of things too…

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:22

Kara has fully returned to Jesus, friends ~ to live with Him in her forever home. And she is healed from cancer and all that may have been ailing her on this earth.

But what about the sharp pieces that those who love her are dealing with today? Is there peace to be had for this piece in the suffering pie that they must endure right now? Is there peace to be had and snippets of joy to be felt even as they move through these days, weeks, and years without Kara by their side? They know they will be seeing her again ~ but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be missing her something fierce ~ something heart-squeezing.

Is there peace to be had for all of these pieces that are so very hard to swallow and we sometimes wish we could just throw out and rid ourselves of so we can get back to the good stuff?

I’m pretty sure that Kara might say to us ~ “this IS the good stuff. Seeking His peace and being held by Him even when it’s hard.”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

Christ’s peace is not always the kind that makes us feel totally calm, at ease with everything, or completely void of stress and difficulty. It is, like Kara tried to tell us and show us in all that she did, a peace that can often be hard to grasp, but one worth holding on to with our ALL.

And it can definitely be hard to swallow.

But the Lord has placed a voracious appetite within us and has assured us that He is here for us, with outstretched hand ~ ready to carry us through so we don’t cut ourselves on the shards.

We have to reach for it, friends. We have to reach for His hand. But we don’t need to strain too hard, for He is ready and waiting for us.

We have only to hold out our hands, because His is already right there for the grasping.

There is peace in that piece too….

…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27

Reaching for the hand of Christ is not hard once it’s open and willing~ it’s not the hardest piece for us as we walk through rough things. I think it’s the willingness to simply even open our hands wide in the first place that can prove to be a strain for us.

We like to clench our fists sometimes.

But Kara’s loves ~ many of them ~ well, they don’t struggle with this piece of things. They don’t struggle with reaching for Jesus through this sad time or the suffering they are enduring as they grieve the loss of having their Kara by their side.

But their hearts are still being squeezed today, friends. They are all dealing with the pieces of grief, and heart hurt and missing their love so very dearly today.

They are being squeezed and may be wondering if they will come out whole on the other side of it. But they are also being held tightly by Jesus. He’s holding them together as they contend with the broken.

And there is peace in that piece, friends.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

So, will you pray for peace amid all the pieces of grief these friends are enduring today, dear ones? Will you pray for their hearts to be filled with Jesus and His love and comfort as they walk through this twisty-turny valley of sadness intermingled with peace and love all at the same time? Will you pray that the Lord will help them to know that it’s okay to be rejoicing one minute for Kara and the fact that she’s fully healed and in the presence of her Savior, and crying the next because they miss her so very much?

Will you pray peace over all of these pieces?

Most of all, will you open your hand to your One, True Savior and let Him hold it as you walk through suffering or hard stuff in this life as well? Will you share yourself with others who wish to walk alongside you if you are grieving, or if the pieces seem to be shattering all around you today?

Therein lies His peace.

There is always peace in every piece if we open up our hands and turn our eyes upon our One and Only and ever-so Mighty Savior, our dear Jesus.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to a fund benefitting the Tippetts children:
Jason Tippetts
P.O. Box 49727
Colorado Springs, CO 80949

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For My Son ~ It’s a Painful Privilege, I Know

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Lately my son has been sharing his heart, his hurt heart with me. I’m thankful that he’s willing to do so and I know that he would want me to share some of this with you, as many of you probably struggle with this at times. Maybe you will be encouraged to know you are not alone ~ that we are all in this thing together, yes?

His hurts come not from the normal-type of angst you might expect from a teenager ~ one who is on the cusp of becoming a full-blown man. One who may feel ready to move on to the next phase/stage of life, but still has school ahead of him.

No. His hurt comes from something much more riveting than all of that stuff.

His hurts aren’t plaguing him because no one is paying attention to him, or that the girl of his dreams doesn’t like him back the way he would hope she would right now, or even from being a bit in that awkward, in-between place where you are sort of ready to grow up, but the world says…”not quite yet.”

It’s not that kind of stuff at all.

It’s about the difficulty we all face ~ those of us who are best friends with Jesus ~ the difficulty of feeling like we are trapped, and unable to live in our forever home. The difficulty turns into a bit of sadness. It can then morph into a sense of discontent, being  unsettled, or wondering where your place is when you know you aren’t living “at home” right now.

That forever home with Jesus ~ the place where there are no limitations in screaming out how much we love Him at the top of our lungs!

That forever home ~ the one where no one is trying to stay hush-hush about the one, most singular awesome thing there is to talk about ~ our Mighty God~

That forever home ~ the one that those of us who walk with Him closely know will be so much better than the world we live in now.

Yet…….

We have been placed  here for a reason, friends. It is hard ~ soooo very hard sometimes not to long for home in a way that wrenches our hearts isn’t it?

But what I was trying to share with my son (and I would covet your prayers for this to sink into his heart and encourage him) is that I have been through the same thing he’s going through right now ~  and what the Lord has always planted inside my heart to encourage me and pull me out of the mire is this:

HE came down to rescue us.

HE came down to be light in this world and save us.

HE came down to walk amongst us and suffered for us.

HE came down!!!

So why should we get out of it? Why should we get to be let off the hook from being here, walking amongst others in a foreign land?

In no way do I want to make light of or diminish my son’s feelings, or those we all experience from time to time at all by saying any of this. I just feel that I’d like to share what God showed me when I went through the same thing. He taught me that it is actually possible to wish for and long for our forever home, but still be okay with being here for the time being.

  • It IS possible to live in this world, but not for this world.
  • It IS possible to look forward to (and pray and beg for) his imminent return, but still move through our days with purpose and joy and peace.
  • It IS possible to do both ~ but we have to fight for it, and pray diligently, and walk in faith and KNOW without question He has us here because it is HIS will.
  • It IS possible!

And yes ~ it IS hard.

We get the privilege of being light in a cold and dark world.

We get the privilege of living out the love and compassion Jesus so deeply desires be given out freely to others who either don’t know Him, or are struggling to stand strong for Him.

It’s our privilege that is painful, but a privilege nonetheless.

I will be the first to raise my hand and say “ooh, ooh, pick me” to be able to proclaim without hesitation that it is hard ~ hard beyond belief! We are to look forward to the return of Jesus and He even tells us that those who do so will be blessed.

But in the meantime, we have to trust Him that He has us here for good reason. It’s not about us ~ it’s about Him and His glory.

So, for my son, I’d like to encourage you today…

It’s a painful privilege you have been gifted with to walk this life on fire for Jesus, when it seems that everyone around you simply wants to pour water over you and put out that fire.

Don’t let the enemy win.

My son ~

It’s a painful privilege to long for your forever home, but remain here to be Jesus even when you can’t freely speak Jesus.

But He will be the words ~ you have only to show up.

Oh my son ~

It’s a painful privilege to love your Savior so very much that you simply want to be in His presence forevermore and be done with this hiccup in your eternity.

But it’s also a peaceful privilege.

There is peace beneath the pain ~ and it’s all because of Jesus!

May God give you the peace and JOY that surpasses all the gunk that comes at you from the outside. Those darts and arrows cannot penetrate the fortress He has created in and around your heart, mind and soul.

It is not possible, because YOU. ARE. HIS.

And I am so very thankful that I have been given the beautiful privilege of walking through this painful privilege with you as my earthly son. Yep ~ there’s that peace again.

And ~ as I smile to myself, I hear Him say….

Don’t forget about the joy. Do NOT forget about my joy!”

Oh my son ~

We shall rejoice!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

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Lizard Dawgs Need Love Too

My husband and I were gifted a trip recently ~ a getaway for a few days, friends. We enjoyed every minute of it. We are ever-so grateful.

Aside from the time together as a couple and the chance to get away from it all, we were in a beautiful and warm climate. My body truly loved soaking up the sun and the bit of moisture in the air.

This is the kind of place that makes you want to immediately go outside upon waking.

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We only ran into a small spot of trouble when winding through these lovely pathways around our hotel as we made the short trek to the beach. They seemed to be lurking at every turn. Some were sunning themselves, while others were scrambling across the path from one place of hiding to another.

You had to be careful, friends ~ some of these dudes were the size of a dog. This one here is one of the medium-sized ones.

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Eventually my husband learned that although I was in awe of these scaly (somewhat slimy-seeming) things, I was not about to be walking across any path that I could already see them congregated upon.

Not this girl.

So we did even more walking and took the long way ’round lest we run into more “lizard dawgs.”

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Now, when someone is naughty or rude to me around my house, I have decided to call them a lizard dawg. I’ve always had issues with avoidance of conflict.

Upon returning home, we finally were able to get our new puppy we have prayed over for quite some time now. With me starting to work from home instead of in the office, I needed a little friend. My family has wanted a puppy to love for years now.

Meet Rudy.

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Rudy is beyond easy to love. He has become a part of our family quite effortlessly and is a wonderful (already trained) little dog. He is easy to take care of, loves to sit and cuddle, but enjoys playing and running around.

He doesn’t make you walk around him to avoid being bitten either, unlike the lizard dawgs.

But as we were returning home, I thought about how people are judged as to how lovable they are sometimes by how easy they are to love. And that is really just not right.

Jesus came to save the sinners, sin, imperfections, warts and all.

He came to love the unlovable.

He calls us to do the same.

There’s nothing wrong with the fact that I love my little Rudy. But I must always remember not just to love him because he’s cute and cuddly. I need to love him (as well as others)even when they are ugly.

I need to remember to love those who don’t always love me back.

Even if they are lizard dawgs…..

And maybe even skeleton dogs too.

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For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Matthew 5:46