Life… Through Mountains and Valleys

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I often think of life as an epic novel. Overflowing with different sentences, different times, different chapters, and different moments.

Some paragraphs in life are delightful, such as a camping trip in Rocky Mountains or when you win first place in a tournament.

Others, we long to rip out of our past and cast them deep into the sea, never to be seen again. Times when closed ones died, or we were stabbed in the back.

Hearts ache in remembrance. Even now memories, tears, joys and fears maybe playing in your mind. Yet even with this, would you hear me to the end. 

I don’t claim to know why things happen the way they did or didn’t. Yet, I know the One who does.

Before you cried your first cry, He was writing your story. Before your first breath, He was breathing your history. I am not saying that He caused the pains that you endured.

 But, I know that some way, somehow He can make good from the past.

Whatever your story, whether filled with darkness or light. Would you let the Author write?

 I look to Him.

The perfect Author.

Trusting in His timing.

Believing in His character

Resting His plans.

 

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The Mask of Safety

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In life we walk past many walls, many hidden people. Far few desire to be real with anyone, so with everyone a wall is built. A wall of protection, yet a wall of death of isolation. A mask placed over one’s eyes to protect, to conceal, to not be real. Yet, those very masks turn into gags and those walls, well, they just turn into a prison. 

Masks, though sadly true, are possessions of us all. For some of us, our mask is our identity: our makeup, hair, weight, and shoe size. Others, their accomplishments, be it a job promotion, GPA or a wonderful marriage.  

Yet that should not be what the church is known for. Jesus is not a God of walls. While here on earth, He saw what lay behind those masks. 

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13, NIV) 

Walking past Matthew, our Lord saw his heart and didn’t hasten to call him to follow. He didn’t see the hatred or stigma that Jews had for tax collectors. Jesus saw the heart of Matthew, the longing for more.  

Church, what if instead of trying to be fake, and we play it straight? What if we admit to each other that we are human? What if we are honest that we are a work in progress? That we are still struggling to live this life on earth, and that Jesus is changing us.  

Beloved, leap over those walls that you have hidden behind for so long. “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” (Psalm 18:29, NIV)  

Today would you dare to be bold by being genuine and by being true about your heart?  

The Washing

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 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Growing up, every child within my family was given a daily chore to complete. For my twelve-year-old self, dishwashing was my dreaded task. Each morning, I would stand at our kitchen sink scrubbing away the oatmeal from pots and grease from pans. It wasn’t that I hated washing dishes, but I didn’t like the fact that the dishes would simply dirty themselves again.
Have you ever felt like a dish? You come to Christ and are washed in His forgiveness. Yet soon afterward you are found once again in the “sink” of Christ’s mercy.
Maybe you are a little like me and wonder if Christ ever becomes annoyed at our dirtiness and feeble attempts to walk out this Christian life. Sometimes I struggle to know if I have fallen too far from His love. Sometimes I fear that maybe this time, His mercy won’t be new for me.
Friends, we serve a God who is great in mercy and love. He is waiting and eager to wash us clean from all that entangles us. Go to your Maker, humble and ready for his cleansing. He isn’t tired of your failures. He longs to forgive and cleanse your soul.
He is waiting with arms open
Run home, run home
He is waiting with his own blood to cleanse you
Run home, run home
He is waiting
Run home, run home

He Sees

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“Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10

This week was one of pain and heart ache. One where I didn’t want to keep fighting and cried out to God for strength time and time again. Maybe this past week was a dreary time for you. Or maybe you had a mountain top experience with God and could feel His very love for you in the mundane moments.

Either way, whether this past week was filled with highs or lows, God sees all that you are walking through.

Not only does He see your pain, but He is within it with you. When you laugh because of a positive pregnancy test, He is there rejoicing with you. When you weep uncontrollable because of a recent break up, He is there too. When you are up late into the night in pain, He is there. When you accomplish a daily chore or simply task, He is there in those moments too.

He sees

He knows

He sympathies in our weakness

He rejoices in our victories

He is here

Surrendered Dreams

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Three years ago, I cried before the Lord as I hung up my ballet shoes for what I thought would be the last time. Tears streamed down my face as I proclaimed, “You give and take away. Blessed be your name.”

It seemed as though all my hopes and dreams were being ripped from my heart and shattered before my eyes. However, the Lord had a greater plan and purpose in that pain. Sometimes God crushes dreams only to build them up into something altogether more different and beautiful.

The art of pottery requires a breaking down and rebuilding of the clay. A potter will pound, smash, and knead the clay, all while aiming to create a masterpiece. In the same way, God may crush our dreams, passions and desires in order to rebuild them into a masterpiece yielded to God’s perfect plan.

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

In the same way, God has done a very similar thing in my own life. For years, I thought that dance was gone from me. However, in His great desire to bless us each, He has provided and enabled me to be teaching dance at two different studios.

To be clear, not every object that is surrendered to God will be returned. However, if He does take something out of your life, it is for your own good. His actions, though painful at times, are done through a heart of love.

Friends, live a life of surrender. A life of an hand open to Heaven, ready for blessing, but surrendered to the taking of the Father.

Guest Post~ Trusting God

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The cold water lapped at my feet as I stood gazing into the deep and murky water of our local swimming pool.

The blazing hot July sun beat down fiercely on my five-year-old body as I shook with fear. However, as my eyes glanced away from the deepness of the swimming pool and into the steady blue eyes of my father, my timidness was calmed. His calloused hands were raised upward as he called, “Jump, Eliza. I promise that I will catch you.”

Assured by his encouragement, I took five steps backwards, and with a running start, cannonballed into the cool water. A squeal of laughter escaped my mouth as I was lifted high into the air by the strong arms of my father. “Again Daddy, again,” I chanted as I climbed up the ladder, which hung on the ledge of the pool.

As a child, trust was an effortless part of my life.

A child easily trusts and believes whatever they are told. Perhaps this is why Jesus calls Christians to become like the little children. (Matt. 18:3) Yet there comes a point where we must face the “whys?” and “hows?” of our lives.

Trust is something that is extremely hard to embrace. Yet as believers, it is essential for us to trust. We are called to trust in a God who promises to save us. A God who promises to be faithful and good. He promises to be with us even in the dark times.

How can a Christian practically build their trust in God? Here are three easy ways to trust God more.

To read the remaining portions of this article, please go to…

https://equippinggodlywomen.com/faith/easy-ways-trust-god-more/

I am Finished with Writing…

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Today I don’t feel like writing. I feel like throwing in the towel and never writing another sentence in my life. Today I shared a personal writing and experienced the sting of it being bashed to pieces. I am half tempted to retreat into the safety of remaining unknown and hidden from sight.

As a writer, I have purposefully forced myself to be 100% honest in my writing. I have purposed in my soul not to show myself to be a perfect individual, but to share my journey towards perfection with anyone who cares to listen. With this honesty, comes the cost of being rejected as a writer.

We all hate rejection. Whether you are a girl, putting on makeup in the morning, or a man at the gym. We all long to fit in and to be accepted. Many, if not all of us, have faced not satisfying someone’s standers. It is the individuals who purpose to go against expected actions, who are rejected. However, it is the same people who push against the rejection that become overcomers. How can you overcome something if there is nothing for you to overcome?

I am not a perfect writer. I am still learning and growing in my craft. I am going to continue writing. Why? Because this pen is God’s. I write for Him and for His standard of truth. If God has burdened me with His truth, how dare I stop speaking, simply because someone does not approve. I am finished with writing for other’s approval.

Reader, you too have a calling on your life as well. Continue living according to the plans God has created for you, no matter what people say.