Tag Archives: God

A Deafening Silence

13 Aug

Silence can be deafening.

It can fill a whole room, a whole body, a whole heart.

It’s a lonely, depressing ache that goes on and on.  How I wish for the breath to say something, to find words, to hear my voice.

The silence is emptiness and emptiness is deadly, dark and meaningless.

Silence, for me, was a way of coping.  As long as I remained quiet, as long as I pretended I had it all together, then maybe I would be OK.  Or at least people would think I was OK.

But I wasn’t OK.  I was falling apart.

My secrets ripped me apart, caused me to hide in the shadows, and question my existence.  Did I deserve to take up space, resources, air?  The thoughts were loud and angry.  The train whistle cut through the silence several times a day.  There was life somewhere outside of my apartment.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Robin Williams, who has the resources to access the best doctors, best medicines, and best therapy could fall into the deafening silence.  There’s a cruel irony in entertaining the masses, yet dying inside.  Tears of a clown or something like that.

Those of us who have been there or are there or live with constant battle against the darkness know what it’s like.  The silence only makes the illness more pronounced because the angry thoughts swirl around, the clichés become tormenting (“Why don’t you…?” “Someone has it worse.” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “Trust in the Lord”), and it’s a sad, lonely place.

If someone like Robin Williams couldn’t make it through the pestilence of mental illness, specifically depression, what hope is there for the rest of us?  We swallow our pills, see our therapists, practice using our coping skills, and hope against hope we’ll make it.

We hope and pray that we won’t end up like Robin Williams all the while wondering if we will.

There’s a choice in suicide.  There’s always a choice.  It’s just hard to make sense of what’s up and what’s down in mental illness, which doesn’t make sense at all.  Yet everyone seems to have an opinion on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so forth.  Just like week someone told me I couldn’t possibly have PTSD because I’ve never been in combat.  Oh, yes, I’ve seen combat, just not in the military.  The world is its own battlefield.

The reason why I’m alive, the reason why I didn’t tighten the noose around my neck or jump in front of that train was this—hope.  No matter how small, God placed that hope in my heart when I was a little girl.  Though I had run away, battered and bruised from the Church, His hope kept me alive.

It may sound overly simplistic, but maybe it is that simple.  Maybe hope really is an anchor to my soul—an anchor firmly rooted in Christ Himself.  Christ died every possible death so that I could live.  Through the brokenness of my life, He shines forth.  Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks.

Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks the words of hope I desperately need to hear.  His soft whisper drowns out the angry thoughts.  His truth slices through well-intentioned, but ill-timed clichés.

In a world that judges, God accepts me just as I am and uses me despite my weakness.  Because of God, I have meaning and I don’t have to be silent anymore.  I can speak out of my weakness because He has made me a display of splendor.

In the deafening silence, His sure whisper can be heard.  Perhaps it’s in silence, God can be best heard.

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Love in the Time of Vomit

17 Sep

Yesterday I had the chance to spend some time with my long-time friend, Beth.  We reconnected after a God-given encounter at my church.  It was reunion that has led to deeper ministry opportunities for both of us, which is why I cannot call this a “chance encounter.”  It was truly a God-appointed meeting.

I walked into Beth’s house and found toys scattered about, her two of her three kids enthusiastically bouncing about, and a baking project that was started, but not finished on the kitchen counter.  “We were going to make you caramel apple brownies,” said Beth with a playful giggle.  She shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “This is my life, every bit of it…and I love it. Welcome to Mommyhood!”

Mommyhood seems tough.  I am fully convinced stay-at-home mom’s are warriors.

As the kids warmed up to me, Beth and I began talking about what we’ve been doing since we last talk, really talked.  She had three kids (a couple born with challenging medical conditions), wrote a book, and a few Bible studies.  And I graduated from seminary, got sick, walked away from church, came back to church, and am involved in full-time volunteer ministry.  We talked about some of the heartaches spelling out “adult” words to protect innocent little ears.  We shared from our hearts, the way only two old friends can do.  There’s something in my soul said, “Where were you?  I needed to have this conversation.  Today.  With you.”

Beth explained how mommyhood has changed her and made her a much less selfish person as we watch her son jump from a chair into a pile of pillows.  “There’s no point in having new furniture with small children,” she told me as she instructed her son to use a sofa cushion to create a softer, safer landing spot.  “Boys are just going to jump off things, so I try to find ways to make it safer.” And jump he did.

She learned about mothering early in her marriage to my dear friend, Chris.  Inheriting a daughter from a previous marriage, Chris and Beth had visitation with “Emily” every other weekend.  During one meeting, Emily’s mom said that Emily wasn’t feeling well and sure enough, Emily soon vomited all over herself and started crying.  Beth tried to comfort Emily without getting puke on her expensive leather jacket.  Realizing how ridiculous she was being, Beth threw her leather jacket in the back of the car, gathered the crying, pukey girl in her arms, and comforted her getting vomit all over herself in the process. 

The story struck me, not only because I hate vomit, but because that’s what ministry is like.  Oh, we think of all the great things that will happen, the souls that will be saved, the Bible studies we’ll lead, the conference speakers we’ll get.  At the end of the day, ministry is standing in the church parking lot until 11 PM with a crying woman who doesn’t know if her husband loves her or praying with a distraught church member in the middle of Wal-mart.  Sometimes ministry is getting the vomit of someone else’s life all over you because they need a comforting hug of encouragement.

As I’m writing, I can’t help but think of Jesus, who came to earth to clean up the vomitous mess we made.  Hanging on a cross for my sin—my vomit—so that I could go free.  What love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!  What love, indeed! 

I wonder what God thinks when we jump off chairs onto pillows—does He make the landing safer for us?  When our big brother steals our stuffed unicorn, does He hold us when we cry?  Does He laugh when we toddle around the room trying to dance to a Newsboys song?  Does God, our Father, treasure us as much as Beth treasures her precious children?  I believe so. 

Adventures in Mommyhood are as much a lesson in cleaning up kid vomit as they are in ministering to our children (or our friends’ children), to those around us, and a startling revelation in how our Perfect Father deals with His very imperfect children.  Because He first loved us, we can extravagantly love others, mess and all.  In fact, it’s those who are crying, covered in sickness that most need our comfort, even if it means throwing our leather jacket of ministry expectations in the trunk of our “rescue vehicle”.  Let’s take a lesson from the One who put aside His glory to be born as a baby so He could take our sickening vomit away forever. 

Pride and Perfectionism

26 Aug

I joke about being the queen of typos and editing errors.  But underneath my self-depreciating humor, I hate myself for making simple mistakes—on math tests in elementary school (is it any wonder why I hate math?),  in the college newspaper when I was editor, on papers I handed in at seminary, and on this blog post.  For some reason, I stare until I’m cross-eyed but a little typo or grammatical error also escapes by vigilant efforts.

I HATE MAKING MISTAKES!!!  Especially stupid ones that could’ve been easily prevented if I JUST PAID MORE ATTENTION. 

If I just worked harder.

If I wasn’t so…me.

To err is human or so the oft-quoted cliché says, but I want to be super-human, or at least the best version of myself.  Unfortunately, the best version of me is still prone to errors, faults, cracks, and bumps.  Truly, to err is human because humanity is in this fallen state.

While all these mistakes seen like a funny, frazzled part of my personality, I wonder if I’ll ever stop hitting my head against the wall for doing what is simply human.  Why can I forgive the shortcomings of others and yet beat myself black and blue? 

Somehow I believed the lie that I SHOULD be perfect, that I won’t make mistakes, that I can do it myself. And when I don’t measure up (and I will never measure up), I am a failure, a waste of space, useless, and I curse the day I was born.  I wonder if the world would be better off without someone who makes so many mistakes, who has so many faults. 

Notice the focus is on me, myself and uh, me.  There’s no room for grace.  Mercy has no place on my throne because my life and my performance reflects who I am, not Whose I am.  Oh, I can pretty it up with some spiritual lingo about how I want to give God my best.  But it’s not really God who I am worried about, I know He’ll forgive me.  I’m worried about what other people will think about my stupid mistakes.  I am more concerned about you seeing my faults and cracks. 

When you see my faulted humanity, I feel naked, weak, and exposed.  I feel less than you and I feel afraid that you will really see me and reject me.  One more mistake and you may lose faith in me, walk away from me, or give up on me.

So I’d rather throw white-out on those errors.  Maybe you’ll see a bump of what was supposed to  be there, but that’s between God and me.  Besides, you have bumps of your own.  You know you do.  I’ll hide my bumps and you keep those skeletons in your closet…and we’ll be just fine.

We’ll be just fine.

Except we’re not fine, are we?  We’re wearing masks and living lies.  I’m not saying that we have to out every single mistake we make.  I simply wonder what life would look like if we were a little more honest.  Weakness and humility throws pride to the floor because through our weakness and failures, God gets the glory.  There are so many situations when He worked in spite of my mistakes, but because of my submission to Him.

Like Paul, I want to start boasting about my failures, my shortcomings, and errors.  I want to stop screaming, “REWRITE!” whenever my life takes a plot-twist I dislike. I want to allow God to use all these things, even the bumps, to bring Him more glory.

Perfectionism is a pretty way of saying “prideful.”  And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being full of myself.  It allows very little room for God to work.  This isn’t going to be an easy process, but at the end of me is where God starts.   

Let God start here and now.  Uncover my bumps.  Use my mistakes.  Make Your glory known.

Misplaced Joy

7 Jan

The actual “Joy Mug” placed oddly in the cabinet. The mug was a Christmas present from the Larimer’s. Thanks, guys!

Why, hello Joy!  What are you doing here stuck between mismatched stacks of dishes?

You seem misplaced. 

You’re not where you’re supposed to be—with the other encouragement mugs.

You’re not where I expected you at all.

I thought you’d be at church, in worship songs, in Scripture, in the smile of a friend… If you were there (and you probably were), I failed to notice you…

I was losing hope in you. I was losing hope period.

My faith is being testing.  My rough places are being made smooth by a holy refining fire.  I didn’t know you were lost to me, but I felt your absence.  I ached for you.  Yet you were hiding in plain sight.  My eyes were blinded by self-pity; I could not see.

I heard you first—in a song on the radio as I drove home from a particularly emotional counseling session.  My throat hurt from a mix of dry air and phlegmy crying.  I sang along anyway.  You started to shine through as the winter sun dried the tears on my cheeks.  My spirit was lifted from its scared, anxious, and pitiful prison.

It wasn’t until I opened the cabinet and saw you there—in front of me in black on white that I knew you had been with me all along in the messy, disorganized cabinet of my life (and tangibly in a very real mug in my kitchen cabinet).

Thank you, Joy, for never leaving me, for being present in sorrow, hardships, trials, and tears.  You call my attention back to God’s promises.  You remind me that there is redemption.  Even as the world continues to groan, there is hope that all will be made new.

You are an inescapable work of the Spirit, a manifestation of His presence.  You are in all things, for I cannot flee from Your Presence.

Father, thank you for surrounding me with Your Joy and for using a simple mug to show me profound spiritual truths.

Really God

24 Aug

This morning I was checking out my women’s ministry’s private Facebook group and one prayer request stuck out.  After a long time of waiting, a friend’s family hit a snafu.  Just when it seemed like God had finally responded, that the trial was finally over, there came to a bump in the road.  Normally, it would be a minor-to-somewhat major inconvenience, but after what this family has endured, it seems like one more detour, one more thing to offer up to God’s throne with shaking hands.

And, yes, it will be OK.  God will work all this out in His timing.  Everyone knows this and finds great comfort in the all-embracing loving arms of God.

Yet there’s this part of me that just says, “But really, God?!  Are you kidding me with this?”  Because I’ve been there, done that, and know the frustration these “minor” things can bring.

Just when it seems like you’re leaving Egypt after generations of slavery, there’s a snag—oh, it’s the Red Sea!  I guess we Israelites, God’s chosen people, are going to be slaughtered right here by the Egyptian army, even though Pharoah pinky swore with Moses to let us go.

But really, God?!

Or you FINALLY get that son that God promised you, even though you’re 100 and your wife is 80!  It’s about time You made good on that promise God, because Sarah and I aren’t getting any younger.  Now You want me to sacrifice my only son?!  The one you blessed me with in my old age? 

Are you kidding me, God?

Maybe you’ve been bleeding for a dozen years, which is, well, embarrassing to say the least.  Thank goodness for those BOGO 50% off female product sales at CVS because you’ve spent all your money seeing one specialist after another.  Your family is tired of hearing about it, and frankly, you smell.  So you take a chance, just one chance, to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment because you’re desperate.  To be found “unclean” among this crowd of religious folks could mean death, but you need healing…and you get it.  You hear a voice rise above the others, “Who touched me?  I know someone touched me.  Who was it?”

Umm, it was me? (All the while giving yourself a mental beating; you’ve been found out and you will probably die.)

Jesus seemed like a safe choice, until now.  But then He looks at you with those eyes of compassion and He listens to your story, which you tell through sobs.  Jesus takes His own hand and wipes the tears from your eyes.  Then He does something you didn’t expect; He forgives your sins, too. 

Really God. 

You’re a little more quiet this time.  Your voice takes on a sense of awe.  Because the Red Sea has parted, so you cross on dry ground (you didn’t even have to muddy up your sandals).  There’s a ram in the bushes to offer as a sacrifice to the Lord, instead of your precious baby boy, for He always provides.  You feel silly, foolish, and relieved that this wasn’t the one thing that broke your faith.  He’s been good, very good, but sometimes you forget because it’s hard to remember what He’s done when you’re in the midst of chaos, or even at the tail end of a long trial.

This is a lesson for me today, for my heart, which is weary and trampled upon from a week of “Really, God’s?!”  I know in this, as in all things, I’ll have that jaw-dropping moment of realization when I see how He uses these bad circumstances for the greater good.   He’s really God and He is in control of all things, including the “little” moments that splinter my resolve.

He is fully, divinely, amazingly, always and forever really God.

What’s your “But really, God?!” moment?  How did you come to see God as really God?  How can I pray for you in the midst of these momentary troubles? (I am not making light of your plight, just trying to look at things with the view of eternity in mind.)

Prone to Wander

15 May

When I first learned that I broke my foot, I comforted myself with the thought of lying about my apartment—in bed, on the couch—reading, watching documentaries on NetFlix, catching up on my mental to-do list, and writing my little heart out.  I haven’t finished one book, watched one documentary, written a to-do list, yet I have been writing…in my journal.  While these conversations with God are precious and private, I feel that my silence has added to my struggle with identity.  Oh, I know my identity is in God alone!  I know He created me and He defines me and He tells me who I am!  I know this!

But…sometimes it’s difficult to explain that to others when they ask me what I do.  It’s a long story.  A really long story.  Fortunately, my faithful family (which includes dear friends) knows my story as do you, my loving readers, because you’ve been on this journey with me for years.  Even though I’ve spent so much of the past year in silence, even though some of you have wandered to other blogs, know I appreciate you, pray for you, and cherish you.

Writing for you to make my joy complete (see post) has fallen by the wayside.  And part of that is my fault, for chasing after things that don’t add life.  Things which, in fact, break my heart.  God says, “No.”  Quietly, patiently, lovingly He says, “No, this is not my best.  You can have this thing you so desire, but I have something even better in mind.  Just you wait and see what I will do!”  I imagine a glimmer in His eye; I hear a hint of it in His voice.  And even though I don’t like surprises, I know whatever He’s planning, working, creating is good because God is good.

So I will wait.

Still, I really hate waiting.  My anxiety fights for control.  I understand matriarch Sarah’s confusion as she waited for her promised son, Isaac.  I imagine her wringing her hands, noticing the wrinkles, new age spots.  She stood up and her knees cracked and ached with each step she took. The laugh lines around her eyes—ha, what did she have to laugh about?!  Yes, God, You have promised something good…but is there something I’m supposed to be doing?  I mean, should I be vigilant about the process?  Maybe help You out a little?  What if I miss it?  As if Sarah could miss pregnancy!  As if I could miss my blessing from God!  (Side note: This blessing, though a mystery to me, will probably not result in immaculate conception and/or marriage.  I just know it’s something, and it may not even seem like a gift from God to anyone else…but I will know it’s from Him.)

As I wait for this good thing, I know I’ve missed the blessing of writing and the joy it brings—the complete joy.  Because I’ve been so busy “making it happen,” I didn’t factor in the time it cost me—time that could have been more effectively used to do things like read, watch documentaries, or even write for others!  Not that my free time has been a complete waste either.  I just know that I might have been blessed and been a blessing.  Oh, distraction will get us every time when we take our eyes off the prize! (God used Sara Groves’ song “Eyes on the Prize” from Invisible Empires to help me realize this.)

I’m sorry for not being there for you, for chasing after that which does not satisfy, for that which leaves me longing for more.  I told you I would write to make my joy complete, that I would let the Holy Spirit fill me with all joy…and I meant it then and I mean it now.  Sometimes I get distracted by the scenery on the side of the road; it comes when you write from the backseat, I guess.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it…” I’ll try to keep the wandering to a minimum…as long as I’m wandering towards God, towards His joy, and towards the better, make that best, choices.

Let’s chat.  Like me, are you prone to wander?  What do you do when you realize you’re still on God’s path, but you’ve stopped to smell the roses for a bit too long?  Will you pray for me?  How can I pray for you?

So…it’s been a while.

24 Apr

After more than three weeks of silence, she speaks!  The first post after a long respite always seems to be the most awkward.  I have a lot to say,  and yet so much I want to keep close to my heart.  Pardon me, as I work it all out and return to the happy world of writing/blogging.

Two days after Brinley (now Bailey) went to her new home, I broke my right foot.  While I wish there was a fantastical story that accompanied this injury (like when I got bit by a werewolf), there isn’t.  I could say I tripped over a gnome, but I wasn’t even outside when it happened.  I was walking in a store, heard a loud snap, and that was it.  When I’m out I’m accompanied by my mom’s rollator (who I named Tobey), my chariot of fire (transport chair known as Elijah), and Stella/Gloria my non-wheeled original walker that I only use on the stairs and to get in/out of the shower.  (Of all the devices, Stella is the most fun.  My friend Shari and I decked her out with ribbons.)

Mostly, I’ve just been sitting around hoping and praying for visitors, who sometimes show up, spending time with God (who always shows up), listening to a lot of music, and social networking (the way home bound extroverts feel connected).  But I feel like I SHOULD be doing something more.  The should’s get me every time.  I guess there are things I would rather be doing, like feverishly writing something so powerful and so amazing that it’s truly and wonderfully from God or fleshing out the great ideas that are constantly bouncing around my brain (including my book, which I am worried my never get written, at least I’m not under contact, right?) or diving into book after book.

I want to do more, dream more, be more…and that’s all very exhausting!  I can’t keep up with my dreams, and I know my dreams and ideas need to be yielded to God or they’re destined to fail.  I mean, plans will always fall apart and some dreams are not meant to be.  I’ve learned that so clearly, and the pain is still fresh. 

As I sit here, struggling to pull my thoughts together, I realize that this is a good moment.  Maddy the Shih Tzu is warming my lap, the afternoon sun is casting an ambient glow across the room, and I am doing what I love–writing.  In this moment, I find serenity and purpose.  God is in this moment, just like He as in the last and just like He will be in the next moment of my life.

There is something about aloneness that inspires lessons in moment by moment living.  Maybe it’s because moments seem longer, less fleeting, and full of emotion.  In busyness, moments slip by unnoticed.  I believe, despite it all, I am learning to live a contented life–one of joy and, yes, of happiness.  Sometimes that just takes a while to learn.

An Open Letter to Satan

12 Mar

Because why wouldn’t Satan and [hot] Jesus arm wrestle?  Seems perfectly weird natural to me.

I was starting to feel glum about recent events taking place in my life.  Instead of lashing out at God, which is my former way of doing things, I decided to write an open letter to Satan instead so that I could remind myself and others of God’s promises to His people.  Am I still sad?  Yes.  But I also know that this is temporary in light of eternity…and eternity is an awfully long time. (Feel free to leave comments, if you’d like. Oh, and don’t steal this without permission because that would be mean and very Satan-like.)

An Open Letter to Satan

Satan,

I am writing you this letter to inform you that your rebellion against God and His people isn’t going so well.  Granted, it looks like you’re winning, and I admit there are casualties in our camp.  However, God is guaranteed the final victory, and until then, I suppose you’re going to keep on causing misery and pain in your kingdom here on earth.

Therefore, if you must continue on with this rampage against God’s image bearers, I’d like to give you a few insights on how this all works.

First, you can maim, torture, denounce, martyr, and rip apart our earthly bodies, but you can never touch our souls, though they may experience the darkest of nights.  Even when God seems so far away that we ache and we doubt, our allegiance will never be swayed, for our King will come through in the end.  When we are at our weakest, God is at His very strongest.  If you want to test us, go ahead, because we will only be made stronger.

Second, though I am forced to live in your kingdom temporarily, I won’t be here forever.  My loyalty is to a King with a heavenly kingdom that will not pass away.  The more I learn about my kingdom of eternal residence, the less satisfied I am with earth.  Oh, there are beautiful sunsets, soaring hawks, and wonders that take my breath away, but these things only prove that there is a Creator.  My soul was made for eternity, and I can’t wait to see creation in its glorified, original state.  See, spring is coming here on earth, and you can’t stop it or the fact that it reminds us of the eternal Spring that will one day come and make everything new.

Third, the Bible says that you masquerade as an angel of light, that you were once the most beautiful in all of creation.  Of course, you rebelled against God, took one-third of the angels with you, and now you’re here on earth.  Then Eve (formerly known as “woman”) came, the signature of divine, and you deceived her.  Tragically, the earth and all that is in it because cursed.  I don’t need to tell you the story.  After all, you were there. 

I suppose that some are still deceived by your “beauty,” but I only see you as ugly, twisted, and disgusting.  While some horrible events are the result of living in a fallen world (aka your temporary kingdom), others are the result of the work of you and your counterparts—wars, broken families, corruption, violence, murder, divorce, abuse, and so on.  When lives are devastated, some question God and doubt His existence, but real Christians turn to God with our heartache.  (For reference, see above paragraph on “when we are weak, God is strong.”)

While you do hurt us, injure us, ruin our days, and even destroy lives, you cannot fool us into thinking that you are beautiful, lovely, or “light.”  You gave that all up when you wanted to be God, when you fell from beauty.  I almost pity you.  Almost.   But you made your choice, took humanity down with you, and caused so much suffering, death, and destruction, I cannot pity you.  Once you were breathtakingly gorgeous, and now you’re this—an ugly, imitation of what you were created to be.  We are not fooled.

Fourth, I am personally affronted by all the pain and heartache you’ve caused in my life…and the pain and heartache I’ve caused others.  To the end of my days, I will never stop giving God the glory, which I know also means doing battle with you and your demons.  While I am not thrilled about the prospect of dealing with you and your kind, the Bible assures me that I am fully equipped for this war.  I know I’m not as intelligent as you, so no doubt you will trip me up.  I may even be a P.O.W. in your camp from time to time.  Know this, Satan, my God will always come for me.  He will never leave me or forsake me. 

In summation, you may be winning a few battles here and there.  You may even claim victory from time to time.  Know this, you will lose the war.  God’s people will always rise up, be made strong in our weakness, and be defended by a Warrior, who rejoices over us with singing.  We will sing, dance, and praise God in our suffering; we will take this heartache and turn it into thankfulness, and these ashes will be traded for crowns of beauty.  In the end, it’s not about what we will do, but what God has already done.

Sincerely,

An unsatisfied temporary resident of earth

Joy comes in the mourning

8 Feb

Necklace crafted by Etsy artist, Lisa Hopkins

I’ve cried until my eyes swelled up and blotted until my face went raw.  I’ve mourned long and hard for my dog, and in many ways, still do.  But joy comes in the mourning.

Usually, I have an attitude like this: “God, does ONE MORE bad thing have to happen to me now?  How can I ever move forward with my life?  You are not good or loving or kind.”  Then I feel bad, so I repent yet remain absolutely miserable—a pitiful creature that spurns the happiness of others.

But not this time, not with this incident. 

I knew that I had to CHOOSE to turn my sorrow into thankfulness and find that elusive joy in troubles that James speaks so highly of in his New Testament book.  Even though I mourned and wailed for my lost dog, I thanked God for her life and for choosing me to be her human guardian in her life here on the fallen planet.

And I continued to thank Him for Cassie, and then I thought of more reasons to be thankful.  If Cassie had died a few months ago, I would have completely fallen apart.  Her life was in His hands…and yes, God cares about animals.  He created them, didn’t He? (If you’re in doubt, read the book of Job.  God tells Job that He knows when the mountain goat gives birth on the mountainside.  An infinite God cares about a goat on a mountain somewhere?  Yes, He does.)

Will I react the same way the next time I’m face down with a broken heart?  I hope so, but it’s not a guarantee.  I just know I’m closer now than I was before to finding “joy in all circumstances,” one step closer to choosing joy.  And I’m only asked to take one step at a time with my God. 

Between you and me, I don’t think I could handle much more than that.  Then again, God knows that already, doesn’t He?

Let’s dish…how has joy coming in your mourning?  What helped you arrive at this place?  Or is this still a foreign concept to you—why or why not? 

Imagine… A Women of Faith Weekend

8 Sep

On Friday morning, BFF Sarah and I will be heading to Philadelphia to attend the two-day Women of Faith weekend (WoF).  Thanks to BookSneeze, I received two free passes in exchange for telling y’all about my experience.  Sounds good to me!  Ah, the perks of being a blogger.

I’ve never been to a Women of Faith weekend, so I don’t really know what to expect.  According to the WoF website, outside food and drinks will be confiscated—does that mean I can’t shove a pack of Mentos into my purse?  Will I be forced to pay $4 for a small soda?  I know that Jesus is the living water, but will He be handing out Deer Park at the event?  Keeping us dehydrated could cut down on those infamously long lines at the women’s restroom I suppose.

Anyway, the theme of the weekend is “Imagine,” and I will, “be refreshed, encouraged and inspired. Because the God who loves you can do far more than you can ever Imagine.”  (Refreshed = free water, I’m sure of it.) Lately, I’ve been feeling parched, discouraged, and vacant.

I’m so thirsty for something more.  (More of God?  Definitely more than just slogging through the day.)

I don’t feel like I can make it through another minute.  My strength is failing me.  Not only do I need courage, but I need to be encouraged.

I have so many thoughts running through my head.  I want to do this and that, but I get so tired—I’m too tired to start, too depressed to even try. I ache for inspiration (and motivation).

And I think, I can’t go to Women of Faith this weekend.  I’m too weak, too depressed, too me.  My anxiety is kicking up at the thought of being closed into a stadium with thousands of women.  The thought of being touched or hugged by a stranger gives me knots in my stomach.  O, God, please don’t make me go.

His response? “I love you far more than you can ever imagine.”

I won’t let my fear control me.  I will bask in refreshment, encouragement, and inspiration.  I will let it fill me up and surround me like a warm bubble bath, and seep into my dry soul like aloe vera. 

Just let go of the fear and imagine…

(The video makes the Women of Faith weekend look pretty fun!)

Have you been to a Women of Faith weekend?  What was it like?  Think my Mentos are contraband?  Are you going to Philly this weekend for WoF or another stop on the Imagine tour?

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