just keep swimming

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Hebrews 12:12-13

How do you keep going, keep moving forward…When you can’t…?

When all you want is to be done with this life, the pain, the emotions, the backbiting and drama that people throw at you?  When people around you don’t seem to quite appreciate the unending waves of emotion that time and time again threaten to overtake you?  The chaotic swarm of doubt that tries, sometimes relentlessly, to invade your mind?

A friend of mine asked not too long ago if I ever just journal that unabated truth of those feelings and thoughts? Because what she sees is usually more of the answers that come out of those places, not necessarily the beginning havoc.  The answer is yes.  I have random scrapes of paper stuck in a multitude of bibles laying around our place, scattered notes in whatever notebook is closest to me at the time, and occasionally in an actual journal.   But more often than not anymore, those occasionally violent waves of emotion leave me on my knees, usually alone in my bedroom, crying and telling God all about how much it hurts, how life feels overwhelming, the giants seem too big and how at times I simply can’t hear Him through all of it.   When I plead with Him to forgive me for my lack of faith and that I know that all of the junk is simply my own flesh and my own will creeping in, but it’s not just “simple” because I can’t overcome it without Him.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit, I have no chance, no long-shot horse to gamble on, nothing.

In the past 24 hours, I must have thought about a hundred time how I don’t want to be here, to deal with this.  How to be absent with body is to be present with the Lord type stuff… but I’m already present with Him, or rather, He’s present with me.  He’s here. So when there’s nothing left, no-where to turn that can hold my heart together and focused on the next step other than Jesus, we hold on to truth.  We choose to intentionally, recklessly, unconditionally surrender.

God is Good & Sovereign

I have this sweet, wonderful lady that I work with, and even though she’s in another office I talk to her at some point just about every day.  We were talking yesterday and she had told me to basically watch my back.  To my surprise, the first words that popped out of my mouth, was that if someone wants to try to “come after” me, that’s okay.  It did the trick because I heard a sudden chuckle on the other end of the line.  But we went on to talk about how really, the powers that be in an office, a church, a courtroom, our homes… only have so much power.  God has the ultimate authority and any plan or backbiting or rumors, as long as I’m staying true to God’s word, can really only go so far and last so long.  And if He holds the power of creation in a single word, I can trust that He knows what He’s doing.

His Judgement is always right

Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, there is a temptation to fall into the old way of thinking, the old questions, the old doubts of how could a Good God let there be so much pain?

But that’s the wrong question.

My God is big enough to take away all of my pain, the hurt, the doubts with a single word.  He created the universe with a single word, my little problems are nothing for His power.  So if He’s not just instantly changing my situation to fit my preference, who’s the one that needs to adjust?  God or me?

If He’s allowing the current struggle . . . that doesn’t change who He is, His character, or even His love for me.  It just means I have a very limited view and I’m not as wise as the creator of the universe.  He’ll still prepare a path and He still has the power to see me through it.

The garment of praise

…and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.  Isaiah 61:3

I can’t understate how big of a part of my life this really is.  True worship is all encompassing and all about God.  You can praise God and worship with anything and everything you do and say.  With or without the music, worship is present when you give to others with no agenda other than His, whether it’s in the form of time or money or a hug.  And while I have very, very far to go yet to be able to focus more on God than the fact that I may be in front of a room full of people, I know who I am when I’m alone with God and how much of a difference it makes, even for a moment to take my focus off of me and look to Him, His truth and His values…

But, I do love my music… so I’m including the playlist that’s been running on my iPod for several weeks, helping me to stay mindful and centered on truth  😉

  1. Even If – Mercy Me
  2. Surrounded (Fight my battles) – Michael W Smith
  3. What Faith Can Do – Kutless
  4. Need You Now – Plumb
  5. If I Have You – Vertical Worship
  6. Faithful to the end – McClures
  7. Your Love Defends me – Matt Maher
  8. Do it Again – Elevation Worship
  9. Reckless Love – Cory Ashbury
  10. So Will I – Hillsong United
  11. King of My Heart – Kutless
  12. Counting Every Blessing – REND Collective
  13. Brave Surrender – Kim Walker-Smith
  14. He is with us – Love & the Outcome
  15. Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns
  16. What if I gave Everything – Casting Crowns
  17. The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns
  18. No Matter What – Kerrie Roberts
  19. Give me faith – Elevation Worship
  20. You are Enough – Elevation Worship
  21. We Believe – Newsboys
  22. This I Believe – Hillsong
  23. Gracefully Broken – Matt Redmond
  24. The God I know – Chris Tomlin
  25. Do what You want to – Vertical Worship

 

But how do I know? How do I know that, separate from the swirling, unpredictable waves of emotion, I’m on the right track?  How do I know that these words right here are anything more than just that – words on a page?  Truth is, right now, I’m just believing that if my actions don’t match up that those people closest to me would hopefully call me out on it.  But also, I know God’s spent time building a different type of resilience in me than what was there before.  One that when my heart breaks, I want to run TO Him instead of away.  That I know more about His basic expectations of me so when I’m sitting in a situation where I don’t necessarily know exactly what to say or do, I still have love and I know more of what true love demands and requires.  Speaking the truth instead of the lie that I might desperately want to say because it will save me some momentary pain (only to bring more later..), knowing that His love is something that I can rely on and that I can trust He already knows this path – after all, He designed it.

And then I have the word and even this vision board pinned up above my computer.  I can trust that this small creation of ideas and verses and pictures that came from hoursKids goal

of talking to God about what’s next, is here for a reason… that while a few short months ago, these words and desires to learn more about words focused around Surrender, Perseverance, Worship and Prayer, seem not-so-strangely relevant in a whole new way.  This quote about raising a God following adult, sounded good at the moment that it made the final cut, but has morphed into something that focuses my actions even when my emotions scream at me to aim for saving the here and now, not look towards the goal.  There’s one blank spot on the board that was left blank intentionally for a verse, I didn’t know what it was…but I knew there was something else missing that I just wasn’t getting.  It’s going up there today – the verse at the beginning – exactly like that from the NLT version.  These early Christians – and Jesus himself – were no strangers to all types of pain.  They didn’t seem to deny that, they didn’t deny the costs… but they kept going.  They didn’t paint true love as a wishy-washy fleeting feeling, but as something that demands, and is worth, absolutely everything.  That’s the path I want to follow, that even when I know God has the power to change my situation, remove the stumbling blocks and the pain, I’d rather have Him change me.  Change my family.  Change this world…. into His image.

 

 

 

 

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