I'm realizing that gratitude starts with a small shift of the mind. It starts with a shift towards noticing. It starts with clearing out space in your mind and in your schedule for slowness and stillness. It starts with seeing, really seeing, and recognizing the gifts around you for what they are.
Yes it's freeing to be "out of context." But as scary as it is to press into relationships... It's also a truly beautiful thing to be known.
How do you articulate to fellow believers, to people who look to you as a "strong Christian woman," that only weeks ago you sat on your bathroom floor, barely able to breathe except to utter the words to God or whoever might be listening, "why don't you love me?"
Sometimes it's hard to set apart time to be in the Word. Sometimes even when you set aside the time to be in the Word, it's hard to focus [or to stay awake] or to even understand what you're reading. So what do you do?
Sometimes it is so hard to follow and love You in the midst of a broken world and a broken me. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have to feel the pain of a world and people without You. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't realize the extent of my own sin.
What could be more encouraging than to know that apart from Christ we are literally nothing? The things we are striving for and hustling for will ultimately fade away like a mist and nothing will remain but the eternal Kingdom of God. Praise the Lord!
Last week I wrote a blog on sexual sin. In that post I highlighted the depth of God's grace. Grace that meets us even in our deepest sin. At the same time (and by that I mean while holding on to that understanding of the grace and goodness and mercy of God) we must also actively pursue repentance with every ounce of our being. So what does it meant to repent?
The Lord is good and gracious in everything that He does, including the times when He walks us through seasons of deep suffering. We can see His goodness and grace even in the deep suffering because it leads us to trust Him and know Him more. It serves to shape us more into the image of God. It helps us to see the temporary nature of the world and the lasting satisfaction found in God.
I know this is a topic that we don't really talk about. It's a topic that I, even though I have been a regular church-goer for all 26 years of my life, didn't hear mentioned in the church even once until a few years ago. It seems that in most churches, sexual sin is considered one of the "darker" or "worse" sins, so we don't talk about it, we keep it in the dark. But I'm going to talk about it here because I believe that Satan works in the darkness.
Why do the righteous suffer? Is all suffering for the sake of God? How do we reconcile the fact that God is good and God is sovereign with the fact that there is evil in the world? Does God somehow ordain evil and suffering? Why do the plans of the wicked prosper?
Hope in God. David proclaims what I would do well to remember – that even if everything around me gives way, even if evil and darkness rule my life, there is still hope because God is unchangeable and steady and unshakeable, “His grace is the ground for unshaken hope” (Spurgeon). Even if you are in a place where you don’t feel God’s love, it does not mean that He is not present. Even if the darkness does not lift, “the darkness is not dark to him” and there is still hope.
Our Father does not look for moral competency – for crossed t’s and dotted i’s and straight-line walking. Instead He takes the sin and the shame, He lovingly deals with them on the cross, and He promises to walk with us as we seek to follow Him and know Him more. His grace. It saves and sustains. It redeems and it reminds. It is forever and it’s also right now. In every moment, over and over and over. It is available in abundance.
It seems like the enemy has tirelessly worked to bring me low and make me believe lies. And I confess, I’ve allowed him to bring me low and I’ve believed the lies. But like firm ground underfoot that can’t be seen through the thickness of low-settled fog, with every step I have been able to rest firmly in the knowledge that He is sure and steadfast.
What do you do when you so heavily feel the weight of the brokenness of the world bearing down on you? When you are so overwhelmed with the pain caused by sin that you feel suffocated? When your heart aches with the hurt and grief of the people around you? How do you let it more deeply root yourself in the goodness and love and sovereignty of the Lord?
I've examined my life more deeply, I've realized that sometimes the way I live and the things I feel don't necessarily line up with the things I say I believe to be true about God. The fear and guilt and insecurity and doubt that are almost daily present in my life reveal to me that I am not always believing.