Looking Down

Looking down? That’s a strange title for a Christian blogger who is only trying to uplift her readers, don’t you think? Especially for a blog that always ends with “look up and keep going.” Let me see if I can change your mind.

Memories are incredibly fun to look back on. They bring back feelings of good times, and of bad, and they often remind us of how far we have come. Memories can remind us of what goals we set that did not work out, sometimes for a good reason, and what goals we met! Memories can also just serve the purpose of simply reminding us of the beautiful places we have gone with beautiful people.

Timehop. It’s genius for today’s world. We are constantly online posting  our thoughts, retweeting other posts we relate to, and sharing videos we think are hilarious. We have been doing this for years, but we do it so quickly, it is easy to forget what it was we thought was so important that world had to see. Thanks to the app that consumes about 64.8 MB of storage on  thousands of phones, we are reminded of what we published a year ago exactly each day.

I still have mixed feelings about this app and its purpose, however on days like today I am thankful for the reminder it sent me.

Three years ago, I was feeling broken down, but I knew God was always going to be right by my side, leading me to His will. With that in mind I tweeted out lyrics from Hillsong United’s, From The Inside Out.


“Your light will shine when all else fails”

“From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out”


Fast forward to today and the past few weeks. I have not been feeling broken down(praise the Lord), however, I have been in a.. stale state with my relationship with God. We weren’t moving together, but rather God has been telling me be still while I act like a five year old who has consumed far too many lollipops. I hadn’t realized it until this morning, but I was in need of a reminder of God’s goodness.

I checked my Timehop memories today after I made it to my 8:15 (early, mom. I made it early), and scrolled past the lyrics just like they were just another post. It wasn’t until a little over two hours later, I realized God was sending me the reminder I needed.

In Convocation, we sang From The Inside Out and it was beautiful.


“A thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains. And should I stumble again, I’m caught in Your grace.”


Over the past three years I have stumbled again and again, but every time the Lord is merciful and full of love. Love I didn’t, don’t, and won’t ever deserve was shown after every trip. This morning, with this realization, is when I began looking down.

I did not start looking down in sadness, or in fear, but rather just looking down to where I had been in accordance to where I am. Everyday is a step closer to God’s purpose for me, therefore a step closer to Him.

In early October of this year, I took two of my college friends home with me for a long weekend. We hiked up a three mile trail to be rewarded with a beautiful view of Harper’s Ferry. At the spot most people stop to rest, there is an awesome silence. Everyone looking down at the ice cream shops and mini-museums, looking up at the beautiful sky God has provided us, and looking around at the unfathomable masterpiece we live in.

The day we went on this hike, we found a perfect spot to sit and let your feet hang off the edge. I couldn’t help but sit there for a few minutes longer than I planned, looking down. I could see the long path we took to find the trail. I could see the bridge we had to walk over to get to the path leading to the trail. I could see the bus stop we were dropped off at. I could see exactly where we had started from where I was now. I was in awe.

The Lord was showing how to recognize where I have been from where I am, and to be still in Him at the same time. This morning, He reminded me that it’s okay to look down to remember what He has done for me. The stale state of my relationship with God was renewed when I was able to recognize this.

Just because the Lord isn’t telling us to move, that does not mean He isn’t still working in our lives. We are constantly becoming what Christ made us to be, however sometimes we need to rest and appreciate where God has led us and the works He has done in our lives.

If you’re anything like me, not moving onto the next stage, the next adventure, the next chapter right away is a challenge. But if you’re anything like me, you need to stop and take a breath after hiking up the Maryland Heights trail. Being patient with Christ, and relying on His timing, is difficult but ever so necessary for our relationship with Him to blossom.

I challenge you to look down today. To remember where you’ve been and how you have made it to the beautiful view God has brought you to. Rest, sweet child of God; wait upon the Lord. He will provide for you.

Look down, and rest.

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~

 

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Oh, Merciful Savior

With Thanksgiving approaching, it only seems right to write about what I am thankful for. While planning, I wrote “God’s blessings” on my list of what I am thankful for; God has blessed me beyond what I deserve. The list of blessings in my life would trail on forever. I then wrote “God’s love”; God’s love is what comforts and strengthens me daily.

Above all else, I am thankful for God’s mercy.

The Prodigal Son story reminds me of my story. A year ago, I thought I had everything I needed and I ran with it. I saw absolutely no end or ruin to what I thought I could accomplish on my own.I spent myself everywhere I went, and used God’s gifts to me in ways I thought would be beneficial to me, without thinking twice about the God who gave them to me. Just like the prodigal son, I landed myself in a position that was crippling and miserable. After putting it off, in hopes maybe I could help myself again, I ran for my God. I ran knowing I was unworthy of His love, knowing that I had pushed Him away for many months, knowing I was in need of some deep cleansing.

God did not shame me, or sit me down to have a conversation about why I did what I did. He opened His arms to me and rejoiced in my homecoming. I had prepared what I would tell Him, but none of it mattered anymore. The Lord knew where I had been and what I had done, but he was excited to have me with Him again.

I had grown up in a Church of Christ, and I knew very well that He would not turn me away, but witnessing this first hand was so overwhelming. I deserved nothing but to be shut out and pushed away from the sinless God who creates every good thing. Instead, He showed me love and mercy, and welcomed me home. We celebrated, and we still do.

By far, the thing I am most thankful for is that day and every day after. Just the thought of how merciful God was and is to me brings overwhelming joy.


“But when God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5


Is that not one of the most exciting thing you could ever read? No matter what you have done, regardless of your betrayal of the Lord, despite your life without Christ, He makes us clean again and gives us a new life! I can barely stay seated at my laptop thinking about that!

He holds back what we, as consistent sinners, deserve. I do not deserve the joy He provides me, nor the daily forgiveness, but He gifts it to me and my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I asked my friend when she has ever experienced God’s mercy and her answer was very relatable.

We often pray for God to just give us a sign of where we are supposed to go, or what we are supposed to do, but when He gives His answer, we ignore it and do what we wanted to all along. That is what Pepper did, as I am sure most of us have.

She prayed and prayed and prayed so hard for God to tell her whether or not she should stay with her boyfriend at the time. She knew what she wanted, and she knew what God need her to do, but she went her own way. God never let her down in answering her prayers, but she had her own agenda. Following her own path, she found herself running into trouble over and over again.

Pepper knows God was merciful to her through her punishments. Though she still had consequences, they were less than what seemed appropriate. Although she may have drifted away from God, He did not leave her, keeping His promise to her. Instead of punishing her to the degree she saw fit, God accepted her and taught her from her experiences.

God made Pepper stronger and gave her a new life. He desires our hearts, and knows we often times desire to follow our own path. God is ready to renew every part of us by his mercy. Let yourself come into God’s presence just as you are, He will clean you and give you a new, wonderful, awesome life.

Oh, Merciful Savior, I am ever thankful for how you accept your broken children as they are.

My prayer for you is to feel His mercy. We all need it; we are all sinners. Upon opening our hearts, God grants us a love so plentiful and full of His mercy. I pray His mercy fills you with overwhelming joy and opens your eyes to just how awesome our God is. I also pray for your Thanksgiving. I hope each of you are able to recognize the blessings in your own life this holiday season.

Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going!

#JesusIsTheBest

~solacingresilence~

Inexhaustible.

At Liberty University, we have Convocation three times a week; this is the largest gathering of young Christians in the nation, and it can bring any servant of the Lord to his or her knees by the intense desire for Christ to captivate every heart in the room. Every convocation is opened by Liberty’s Worship Collective band and today we sang This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham.

“This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love.”

These lyrics are powerful in the song; if you have not heard it, I suggest you listen to it. It has become on of my favorite worship songs. The more we sang the chorus, the more “unfailing love” stuck out in my mind.

Growing up in the church, this term was not new to me, and I imagine it is not new to many of you reading. Almost always used when searching for comfort in our God, I never thought twice about what “unfailing love” actually means. I never imagined I would think to unpack these two simple words and come out with such a deeper understanding of who God is.

As stated in my previous post, God is love. It is who He is. But this time He is unfailing love. I started to wonder what the definition of “unfailing” is, and then I felt silly. Of course it means without fail, however, I craved the hard, book definition of the word to satisfy this wondering mind and curious heart.


Unfailing – not falling short of expectation; completely dependable; inexhaustible; endless


Just what I expected, but thinking about this definition in terms of God excites me way more than I thought a dictionary.com definition could… Did I just say that?

Inexhaustible is in bold for the reason that the Lord’s love does not get tired. How amazing is that? THE LORD’S LOVE FOR US DOES NOT GET TIRED. Wow. The love our God has for us does grow faint or run thin like our love for each other might. Some days, we have to muster the strength to love each other, but God’s love for His children is inexhaustible. That is comforting, exciting, and mind-blowing.

A dictionary.com definition allowed me more insight of the amazing Lord I serve, but where do we look for answers? God’s Word! I found seven different Psalms that sung of His unfailing love and each one mentions recovering from trouble, reigning victorious, or receiving His forgiveness. With this insight, God’s “unfailing love” is also “inexhaustible comfort”.

Where there is something that is unfailing, there most be something that is in fact failing. I began to really think about this. I was stuck looking at God for what is failing, but no part of Him fails. He is sinless and every good thing comes from Him. And then I realized what is failing…

We are.

We have always failed Him and we always will, as heartbreaking as that is. Peter is a prime example of failing Christ. Jesus warned Peter of his betraying actions, but Peter still denied Jesus three times.


 “Jesus answered, ‘Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter- before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.'” John 13:38


At the last supper, Jesus explains to Peter that he will deny Jesus. Hearing the Lord, Peter still does in fact deny Him three times before the rooster crow. Once in John 18:17, once in John 18:25, and lastly in John 18:27 when the rooster immediately crowed after.

If Peter failed Jesus knowing exactly how he was going to fail Jesus, how do we expect ourselves to not fail Him? We are not going to get coffee with Jesus, nor are we hitting up the local small band concerts with Him, so we don’t exactly get to hear just how we are going to fail to love Him, even though we will. Jesus commanded us to love each other, but we fail to do that too.

Amiable, formerly known as PSL, let me share a couple of stories in this post, and I am ever grateful for her. Upon asking her how she ever failed to love someone she mentioned that she has gotten overly upset with her sister before. As simple of an example that is, I love it. We all lose our temper over small things with people every day, and unfortunately rarely apologize for it. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, love is not rude nor is it easily angered, therefore, when we are quick to argument with someone, we are not loving them. We fail to love.

After Amiable answered that question, I asked her when she has ever experienced God’s unfailing love. Junior year of high school was difficult for her. She felt unwanted, unneeded, and unnecessary to everyone she passed. While on a youth group retreat, she was reminded that God’s love is unfailing. She felt His gentle reminder of His presence and knew that His love is inexhaustible, even when it feels like everyone else has given up on her.

She was reminded that God will take care of us because his love does not fail.


“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19


Paul, yet again, writes a brilliant letter to his brothers and sisters in Christ, this time in Philippi. Reading Philippians 4:19, we must remember that our wants and needs are two very different things, and we may not always know exactly what we need. But God’s unfailing love will provide exactly what we need exactly in the right time.

When we fail to love each other, and Him, we need forgiveness. God grants this to us when we repent, not because we deserve it, but because He has unfailing love for us, and sent His son to die for our sins.

What does that mean to us, though? Yeah, so God has and is unfailing love, but how does that effect me, or you?

God never leaves. Many times throughout the bible and in several of peoples’ testimonies, God presence did not stop. We may choose to ignore His presence, but does not and will never ignore our presence. Our God loves His children so much that He will not stop sending signs of His love to them.

He is our deliverer. As I stated before, “unfailing love” is most closely associated with deliverance from times of trouble in the bible. Allowing trials in our lives is something that only magnifies God’s love. He will guide us out of temptation and provide what we need to grow out of the trial’s to glorify His name.

He is inexhaustible. We can grow tired of each other in many ways and from different circumstances, but He will not. Rejoice, child of God, this is amazing news.

My prayer for you is that you feel God’s unfailing love every day. Search Him out, spend time with Him, be open to His plan and I guarantee He will show how much he loves you. You are loved, without fail, without end, inexhaustibly, unfailingly.

Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going!

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~

Benevolent Love

Love.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to the church of Corinth after receiving word of misunderstandings in the church and of people acting in ways opposing what Paul taught of God’s Word. Paul is my all-time favorite bible story, for so many reasons. He has a gift for writing that convicts, yet loves. Paul is a great example of who God is and how we are to approach each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Chapter 13 is titled “Love is the Greatest” in my bible… I would have to agree. Love tramples fear and casts out doubt upon strengthening the hurt and lost. The greatest commandments are based around love.

But first, let us look at how society tells us to love and what love is.

It is nearly impossible to scroll through social media and not see a post about how to love or who is lovable. Today, on Snapchat, a drawn girl tells herself she needs to be more loving to others but while walking behind someone who is moving at a slower-than-desired pace, suddenly the words, “I will destroy you and everything you love” escape her. Twitter is constantly filled with promotions for loving yourself and not caring about people who may have “done you wrong” even once. If anyone ever feels betrayed by someone in anyway, or even acted in a way you wish they hadn’t, you have a right to treat them as poorly as you wish, according to the world.

God, and His standards, are not of the world. He is love. He is unconditional, never-ending love.


“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-39


This verse is not entirely too difficult to understand on the surface level. It’s a ‘easier said than done’ command. After experiencing the world without Christ, but also experiencing God’s grace and mercy, I strive to love my God everyday.

In any relationship where you truly love someone, you trust them, you obey them, you do not hide from them, and you don’t doubt them. This is how we are called to love the Lord. To trust Him, to obey Him, to not hide from Him, and to not doubt Him. I guarantee that in this life all of us have done the opposite of those four. What we do is dishonoring to God, therefore it cannot be love. 1 Corinthians 13 defines love clearly in verses 4-7, and it plainly states love cannot dishonor others.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is hard for my generation as it goes against the grain of the media. Constantly, I am being told that only I matter, no one else should be a worry to me. When we get hurt, we feel the pain and, depending on the person/the amount of pain, we take care of it. We hear and feel the monster inside the empty dungeon, that we call our stomachs, roar and, more times than not, we feed it to silence it. When the world starts to turn shades of blue and black, we pause for some time and drink water. We love ourselves. I know I trust my body when it tells me something isn’t right. I certainly obey myself, and I don’t doubt myself. This is exactly how we are to love others. They come first, always. No matter who “they” are, “they” are loved just as much by the Lord and should be loved by you and me, unconditionally. 1 Corinthians 13: 5 states love “does not demand its own way”. It is not self-centered!! Even if caring for someone else consumes your day, do it, love them.

Selfless love is what we are called to show.


“Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:10


Paul, again, writes a simple, convicting, loving letter to Christians, but this time to Rome. This one sentence has been underlined several times in my bible. It is very easy today to disregard anyone except yourself and those who support your behavior.

PSL told me other day that I will randomly be outgoing when I say “hi” to everyone I see. She isn’t wrong. When I feel the Lord working in my life, it suddenly becomes easier to just smile at someone or say hello while walking past them. It may be a small scale of love, but love has no boundaries. After a hard day, when I feel beaten down, a smile from a random person can immediately turn my mood. Love is kind. We should desire, with a fire burning inside of us, to always show the kindness of love, our God, to those surrounding us.

Selfless love. One of my biggest personal battles. About a year ago I embarked a “how dare someone like you do something like that to someone like me” attitude. Once I started into that mindset, I was the center of my world. If what you did was going to contradict my thoughts, plans, or behavior, you might as well forget. You weren’t a thought in my mind anymore.

When God opened my eyes to how wrong that is, everything changed. You cannot claim God and love others in a selfish way. That is not what God stands for. In a previous post I mentioned that Christ is my song. If I claim Him as just that, the song stuck in my head, then I need to represent who He is and what He stands for. God is love and love is not self-centered; others will always come first where love is present. By loving others, as defined in 1 Corinthians 13, we support Jesus, we promote God, we are true advertisements of who they are.

Now hold onto your seat, your hat, whatever you want to hold, hold it tight. This is going to contradict everything the world has to offer.


“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind  to those who are unthankful and wicked. Luke 6:35


Hold the phone. Hold the front door. God wants us to do what?????? Love our enemies.

Do you need a second to catch your breath? It’s hard to soak in sometimes. The Lord calls us to love those who are wicked, because that is what He does. Again, if we claim Jesus we have to claim everything He stands for too, and He stands for unconditional love. Jesus is calling us to give without any strings attached to those who have personally hurt us.

My selfish love tells me to do the exact opposite. They hurt me, therefore they should feel my pain or even worse pain than what they caused me. But my Lord tells me otherwise. He sits me down and says, “Bobbie, I know they have hurt you, but I will repair your hurt and I still love them.” At first, that is like your friend hanging out with your ex. Woah, what are you doing? They hurt me and you’re my friend, therefore you need to be mad at them too. WRONG. God will always love all His children, and we need to be His lights, beaming His love everywhere we go. It may be challenging to learn how to selflessly love your enemies, God didn’t say it was going to easy, but it will bring a new light into your life.


“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows of God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:7-12


1 John 4:7-12 is an excellent recap of what I am trying to exclaim to each of you. I could not pick a smaller section of John 4 because love is so so so important, and what is stated here is so so so important to remember throughout every day.

“Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” Verse 10 hits hard. We do not love God as we say we do. If we loved God, we would never stray away from His desires for us. We would never doubt Him, nor would we hide from Him. Knowing our inability to love Him consistently, He sent His only Son to die for each and every person on earth so that they have an opportunity to spend eternity surrounded by only His love. That is love.

Verses 11-12 encase my most desired point for everyone to realize.

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.”

How can we not love each other when our God, whom we turn against daily, loves us to such an extreme? The Creator of the universe desires your heart and your attention. He wants the very best for you, regardless of your past, for when we are in Him we are created new. With a God like that, we are fools to not love each other to such a magnitude. To strive to love others as God loves you is to bring Christ back into the world.

The world is full of selfish love; I have my days, my moments, where I am only full of selfish love. There are days when the dining hall on campus serves an Oreo-cheesecake-cookie thing and it is beautiful. Pepper and I walked past it and knew immediately we wanted some after we ate our dinner. When I got up to get our cheesecake, I picked up a larger piece and a smaller piece. I’m sure you can imagine which piece I gave her.. the smaller piece. I was being selfish and only thinking about how much I wanted it, disregarding what Pepper wanted.

On a larger scale, Pepper was very sick the past week and needed medical attention. Our friend Altruistic, formerly known as Gucci, selflessly cared for her all day. I am not quite sure what he had planned for that day, but he rid all of his plans to make certain she was cared for and well. Taking her to the hospital for a few hours was maybe necessary in his head, and I don’t doubt that for a second. To the outsider, it was a perfect showing of selfless love; he pushed everything he was concerned about to care for someone else. He brought God back into the world that day.


“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13


The greatest thing you can do is love everyone selflessly, as God commands. The greatest thing is to bring Christ into every day. Forget the selfish love the world promotes, pick up your cross, and follow Him. He will indubitably teach you how to love as He does, so open your heart.

My prayer is that you, and I the same, learn to love unconditionally.  That when people look at us they see the Lord’s love flowing out of us. Open yourself to Him, allow Him to fill you with His love to the point that you cannot help to love everyone you cross paths with.

Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going.

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~

Journey From Nadir

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.

“my salvation.”

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!

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~

Natural Comfort

For a few days, I had no idea what to write on next, and it really started to bother me. I asked my friends for advice, and they exploded with topics! The Lord certainly surrounded me with the right people for this season of life(and I’m hoping all the seasons)! PSL encouraged me to publish how I cope with struggles, and I fell in love with that thought. This is going to be a topic touched through several posts, but to go with the fall season, I’m going to express one of my favorite ways of coping with difficulties life throws.

NATURE.

I am a bit of a nature-freak, especially in the summer and fall… and winter and spring… I just love nature, okay? God does beautiful things with His masterpiece we occupy that indubitably leave me speechless. My phone is the home to countless pictures of the sky, flowers, and mountains. When I lived at home and had access to my truck, a drive through the mountains nearby became very routine. If anyone finds something more relaxing than sitting in the middle of nature listening to what God has to say, please let me know, but until then, this is my favorite thing.


“For since the creation of the world Godʼs invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20


Throughout the Bible, many verses proclaim the earth as God’s, His masterpiece. We live in a work of art. I never loved an image as much as I love than that. Since we inhabit a work of art, we are, therefore, works of art. The Lord made each one of us intentionally, just like He moves the clouds and dictates the paths of lightning blots.

That’s big picture, but looking at God’s creation on a smaller scale can magnify His brilliance tenfold. One night, I was getting home from my day around 12 or 12:30 at night. I don’t remember why exactly, but I remember feeling beaten down, begging God to show me He hadn’t deserted me. As I walked up the driveway, it was dark and cold, starting to feel damp from the dew setting in. I was on the verge of breaking down before making it to the door, when a cluster of ordinary flowers appeared illuminated. I kept walking, thinking nothing of it at first but as I reached for the door it hit me, those flowers shouldn’t be in a beam of light. There was no logical cause of the brightness of these flowers. I about jumped back to those flowers and stood there trying to understand. The longer I stared, the more I felt God fill me and remind me, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”(Hebrews 13:5)

Have you ever not been able to think of what you did 5 minutes ago? Or just straight up forgot an elementary word you should remember without a doubt? And then someone reminds you of the word, or what you did, and you feel dumb because it was right there the whole time.. that’s how I felt in this moment.

Why did I doubt God? Of course He never left. People around me had been telling me just that. But it took seeing His brilliance, and being struck by the awe of His creation for it to sink in.

Psalm 96:11-12 explains what I experienced beautifully, the flowers were singing God’s praise, proclaiming His glory, announcing His unending love! All of nature shouts God’s praise! This is why I cling so tightly to nature when I am walking through a dense spot in life.  When I cannot gather the strength to hold onto the promises of Christ, the nature surrounding me bursts with joy for the Creator is good! It reminds me of His goodness in every season. Through every season, Christ is able to portray His beauty, therefore in every season of my life He can do the same.

I took my friends on a trail called Maryland Heights over fall break, a trail I have hiked several times, and without fail, every time I have reached the top of the mountain, many people sit on the rocks, but there is a silence. A powerful silence. Everyone was in awe of the view, of what our great God has done. Whether they acknowledge where it came from or not, I don’t know. But being among others absorbing the art of our Creator, let alone just His creations, is an amazing experience

Nature is constantly changing, and so are we. If the Lord our God can provide for the world He created, He can nurture us. With that, if the trees can sing for joy in the midst of the ceaseless change, I can praise God through anything I’m walking through.

I hope you find several ways to cope with difficulties where the Lord can speak to you personally. I hope at least one of those way includes a peaceful place and is as beaming with Christ everywhere you look, luckily we live in a place just like that. 🙂

Until my next post, Look Up and Keep Going!

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~

 

Greenie Meanie

We’ve all been there. Jealousy is not fun, but we have all experienced it. We’ve all resented someone because of his or her rivalry, success, or advantages. Its the skeleton in the closet for most people and leads to regretful, hurtful actions.

GOOD NEWS!

This is not new. 

Since the first family on earth, jealousy has won our hearts and captivated our actions. Let me encapsulate the story of Cain and Abel, found in Genesis 4, for you.

Adam and Eve’s first born son was named Cain and they could not be more excited with God’s gift to them. Cain didn’t stay an only child for long when awhile later, Abel was born! As the boys grew, a time came when they needed to work the land they were blessed with and present gifts to God. Being a shepherd, Abel brought his best livestock to God. Since Cain tended to the harvest of the earth, he brought God some of his crops. Upon the presentation of offerings, He was very happy with Abel and accepted His gift, while rejecting Cain. Inside Cain, jealousy began to stir. God warned Cain to knock out how he was feeling internally instead of allowing it to control him. Ignoring the command of God, Cain killed his brother! The Lord confronted Cain about his brother and cursed the land he tended to, however, being a just and loving God, He promised Cain that no one would kill him, and anyone who did would receive seven times the punishment Cain received. With a mark of the Lord, Cain moved near Eden to settle his life.

Within this story, we acquire A LOT about jealousy. We recognize how jealousy can effect us, how God will hand it, and how God loves us through it.


“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7


In the verse above, God is speaking directly to Cain, after Cain is angered with God’s favor of his brother. If Cain does not do as the Lord asked him to, which is right, then jealousy will soon overcome him. How many times have you felt jealousy starting a fire deep within you, but did nothing to stop it? God calls us to “subdue it and be its master”. That sounds simple, but how do we do that?

If we head to the book of James, we are told how to suppress our jealousy.


“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:7-8


These two verses tell us exactly what to do. During any sinful action, we MUST move closer to God. The Greenie Meanie growing inside us is from the devil, so consequently, we need to move from the origin to remove the feeling he tempts us with. I could try to write that in another way, but I think you get the point – FLEE FROM JEALOUSY. (I guess I just wrote it in another way.. sorry)

Back to Genesis 4:7, God gives Cain the warning that He gives each one of us. When we are in a situation that ignites the jealousy fire inside of us, we have a choice to make. We can either act upon the jealousy or against it. Often times, I know I fall short of God and act as the Greenie Meanie inside that is begging to come out.

All throughout childhood, I had a best friend(Bop) who I spent must of any summer and a majority of the weekends with. One Saturday night, her neighbor and I went to Bop’s house. She always had some of the coolest stuff I had seen, including a crayon-shaped coin bank. Her brother had one too, which was necessary when we would have our occasional crayon battle(believe it or not, coin filled plastic tubes hurt). The other girl and I began to play with the crayon, taking turns of course. It always starts that way with children; toys are shared nicely at first but as the excitement rises often so does jealousy, and the nice sharing abruptly vanishes. As time went on, we both wanted the crayon at the same time, and Bop noticed it was becoming tense. She pleaded that we stop fighting over the crayon, but of course we did not respond how she requested. What we did not realize was we were seconds away from a broken crayon-coin-bank, a sad Bop, and coins everywhere. While Bop petitioned our battle for the crayon, there was an internal battle occurring. Do I listen to Bop, and give up my desire for the crayon, or do I fight hard, disregarding Bop, to strive toward having the crayon?

These battles don’t last very long with children; they want what they want and they won’t stop until they get it. However, jealousy was very present in my heart and I made the decision of continuing to fight, neglecting the worries Bop had.

As you can imagine, Bop’s neighbor and I had some punishment for not listening, and breaking her belonging. Our punishment was a few minutes in time-out, which probably seemed to last an eternity, and to help clean up the coins; you make the mess, you clean it up. Our punishment appeared to be the end of the world to our elementary minds, but it was nothing compared to God’s punishment for Cain.


“Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you try! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:11-12


Since Cain deliberately sinned against God, he had to be punished by God. Cain’s fields would no longer profit him leaving Cain with nothing, making him homeless. Cain started to cry to God, deeming this unfair and protesting that his punishment, will result in his murdrer. But God thought otherwise.

God is just, powerful and loving. All who believe in Him are His children to the highest degree. He is our biggest fan, and we are His treasured possessions. Hearing Cain doubt His love, He reassures Cain,


 “The Lord replied, ‘No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him.” Genesis 4:15


When I broke Bop’s crayon, I had a punishment or two; there were consequences. I am certain that I argued my punishment. I am certain I saw it unjust that I had to pick up the coins that lay on the ground, now homeless. But I had to, because I acted in my jealousy which created a mess. With a doubt, I was afraid the rest of the night would surround my wrongful actions. I was afraid I would be persecuted the rest of my stay. However, to my surprise, Bop’s mom, who was just punishing me, was showing love, forgiveness, and mercy. We were provided safety in her home, food to eat, and an atmosphere to giggle as long as we pleased.

How wonderful is it that even though we may act in jealousy, we are provided, by God, a way out? God allows us to choose to move away from the evil temptations, closer to His goodness so that we may be sheltered under His promise of love.

The next time you become jealous, sadly it will happen again, remember James 4:7-8. Take a step back and make the conscious decision to move closer to God who loves us and provides us with what we need. Reset the devil in all that you do, but know that when we, God’s children, desert our Father’s teachings, He will always protect us.

My prayer for you is that the devil stays far from you. I pray that when he lingers close to your heart and tempts you to act against God, you choose to follow Christ and move from his evil acts.

Until next post, Look Up and Keep Going!

#JesusIsTheCoolest

~solacingresilience~