October 19th I started my GOLDEN YEAR!!! I’ve been waiting for my 19th birthday since my 18th birthday, and it couldn’t have taken longer to get here. Eighteen was an eventful year to say the least and I was excited to not be associated with it anymore. My 19th year was when I realized that when people tell you, “God allows trials in your life to allow growth in your life”, they aren’t referring to when you stub your toe or get a not-so-hot grade on a test.
Eighteen started with a heartbreak. I remember telling my parents and friends, “Within my first week of 18, I’ve had to make a very adult decision, one that ruined all my future plans.” Whoever said that it’s easy for the heartbreaker after relationships was W.R.O.N.G! Wrong by a long shot. After I made my “very adult” decision, I strayed from my faith trying to heal my hurt with earthly things. I strayed far enough away that God looked like a killjoy, someone I would rather live without.
When my world rocked, and I realized I was at my lowest, it became clear that God’s breath is what fills my lungs and I can’t not acknowledge Him. He is why I am placed in my family, at Liberty, and with the friends I have; He is the reason for it all.
I wish I could say that after I rededicated myself to Christ life was easy, but it was far from it. I had developed bad habits, that as the weaker brother, led me down a path away from Jesus. I struggled to break them, even though the Lord pounded my heart telling me to just release, that He would take care of me and my struggles. God needed me to sit back so He could teach me how to live again, but I wanted the control and was slow to give it up.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'” Isiah 43:1
In Isiah 43:1, God is telling His children we have no reason to fear because we are His. All throughout Isiah, God speaks to His children in a such a way; He tells us we are His and therefore we have nothing to worry about. If the God who created the earth repetitively calls me His, and desires an intimate relationship with me, I am foolish not to run to Him. While reading these verses, I wonder why I ever hesitated to let a loving God, as He is, to have complete control over my life. However, just as 1 Timothy 6:9 states, I was lured into the ways of the world by the “promises” and “satisfaction” that it offered. I became too distracted to glimpse back at Christ. Falling into sin’s trap will bring you to the end of your truth and leave you with nothing but a faint cry for the Lord’s assistance. He will hear it, and He will rescue you.
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9
Before Christ opened my eyes, I pushed my parents limits, my limits, and learned my friends’ limits. I couldn’t imagine giving up the late nights, the rotten mouth, or the friends I still hold dear to my heart just because God wanted me to. But God knew He had to get me to the end of myself before I would fully give Him my heart.
Since I resisted, I led myself into emotional pain and a lot of guilt. Thankfully, our Lord is a loving one and when I did let go of my old self, He brought comfort and shelter to make the transition easier.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18
Romans 8:18 tells us that God promises He has something that is far beyond worth any suffering we could go through. I held to that promise through the pain of departing from my old self, all the pain would be gone before long, while God had something beautiful waiting.
In telling you how eye-opening 18 was for me, I pray that you are consciously aware of the Lord’s presence and His workings in your life. My life verse is Psalm 118:14.
“The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14
Prior to 18, I didn’t see the value in life verses; I thought life verses were a way for people to make themselves feel better, or to justify their lifestyle. Certainly if someone is not in the right mindset, and lacking a heart filled with Christ, then that may be true. However, after I hit my lowest, I realized that life verses are so much more than that, as they are different for every person.
During my 19th year, I was stripped of everything I knew to be true. I had nothing and all I desired was something tangible, but something that worked, since the ways of the world did not fulfill the gap in my heart. I could feel Jesus healing me, placing His hand over me, tucking me under His wing, however you want to say it, I felt it. But I needed something here, to remind me of my life changing decision.
SHOCKER HERE: I love written words. I love writing letters to my loved ones, and I tend to express myself better through writing. To remind myself of God’s goodness, I would write a new verse everyday anywhere I could, most of the time doodling on homework or in class.
I kept ignoring Psalm 118:14, not because of the content, but because I felt that it was too simple to be a life verse. People often choose verses that mention the death of Jesus, or about the end goal of being with Christ to be their life verse for obvious reasons, they serve as an amazing reminder of our purpose. There was no way, in my mind, this was going to be my life verse. But it would not leave me alone. I had never heard of this verse before, and all of the sudden it was surrounding me, and before I knew it, I was doodling that verse unintentionally on all my papers.
Once I realized God was really trying to tell me something through this verse, I laid myself down and let Him speak. Psalm 118:14 has become the most powerful verse in my life(hence it being my life verse;)).
“The Lord is my strength”
Let’s start here. As I have repeated several times throughout this post, 18 is when I hit the lowest I have been to this day, so hearing that my God is my strength is the most reassuring statement. I don’t have to be strong, I am allowed to be weak. In fact, the Lord does not expect me to strong in the slightest. God knows we are all weaker than we are willing to admit at times and are going to need help along the way. When I feel like there is no way I can make it to the end of the day, I know the Lord is carrying me without having to plead for help. I hope you know as well, that anytime that we are weak and giving up, we don’t need to rely on ourselves to make it through anything, Christ wants to help you and guide you.
We can’t rely on ourselves either. Relying on ourselves only demotes the God we exist through. The God that created the earth can handle your pain, your weakness, and can certainly strengthen you to make it through the road up ahead.
“and my song.”
I know I am not the only one who walks around humming, occasionally singing. If you think you don’t, you’re lying. All of us have had songs stuck in our heads before. Christ is my song according to Psalm 118:14. He is constantly stuck in my head, therefore I should go around humming and singing of Him and for Him! When we start to treat God as the necessity He is, He fills our minds and our hearts with His joy, love, and grace. Allowing Him to do such things will put your song to a new sound track, one like no other.
I know for myself, this part of the verse is elegant and powerful. It reminds me of God’s gentleness, and yet the command to spread His word rings through these words. I pray I am able to show the world my song. I also pray that if He is not your song, that you open your heart to Him. He is undeniably the best song to claim.
“He has become”
These three words did not mean much to me separated from the rest until recently, with my new, clear view of where I’ve been. The Lord was not always who He is to me now because of my own beliefs and actions. I refused to let Christ into my life fully prior to March 2016, therefore the Lord could BECOME more to me. Not because He needed to do more, but because I needed to let Him guide me freely. I want to make it very clear that God has done more than enough for me; I am forgiven, just like you, because of His son Jesus and His unfathomable love for us. He had nothing and still has nothing to prove. I had to use my free will to accept Him back into my heart so that He could open my eyes to His beautiful ways.
Salvation – deliverance from the power and penalty of sin. God himself has delivered me from my sinful life. Daily, He forgives my sins. He alone is what saves me everyday. I cannot fathom why or how. He loves each one of His children so much that He accepts us as we are, cleans us, and continues to love us as the worthy children we are not.
Recognizing this part of Psalm 118:14 is moving. Those two words crush the devil. In two words, Satan has nothing over Christ’s children. Since the Lord is my salvation, sin has nothing over me; sin can no longer and will never win me because of what Jesus did. I hope you know He did that for you too. Jesus died so that we may all know God, to spend eternity in Heaven.
Don’t let the hardships of this life bring you down, for your God has so much for you. He makes a promise in Romans 8:18 to give us glory that is not even comparable to the pain we feel. While walking through a stormy and gloomy measure of life, remember Romans 8:18 and hold tight to His promise. It is worth it and we are worth it as we saw in Isiah 43:1. If we weren’t worth it, do you think the Creator of the universe would claim us individually as His own? I don’t. Keep your head up, champ. Your God is rooting for you.
If my year in review was only a fun story to read, I hope it served you well. Otherwise, I pray it encourages you to never let go of the promise God has made you. If you happen to hit rock bottom soon, or if you’re already there, I pray you hear God’s calling to you. Do not ignore it. Let Him become your strength, song, and salvation. He wants nothing more than to be your everything, let Him.
Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going!