Finding Safety in God

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91: 1-4 NLT

Where do you find your rest? Rest doesn’t mean sleep. It means, where do you go to feel at peace? Where do you go when hard times hit? Do you go to God? I absolutely do. Some one tells me something is going on with them and I say, “I’ll pray for you.” Then I follow that up with actually praying for them. When something is going on with me, I go to God. He is my rest. Worrying about the problem won’t do me any good but bringing it to God and laying it at his feet will. And when I lay my problem at God’s feet I find my rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.

He is my God and I trust him. Do you trust God? Do you trust God to be there? Do you trust God to keep you going, to give you strength? Do you trust God to give you love? Do you trust God to get you through the hard times just like he helps you through the easy ones?

He will rescue you from every trap and will protect you from every deadly disease. What do we take from that? I think it’s about putting your faith in God. Believing that he will rescue you from no matter what ails you. But it’s hard to talk about protection from disease or deadly disease because some people get sick, even good and faithful Christians get diseases and die. But what I choose to take from it, is that God won’t leave you in your disease. He will give you peace and comfort and the strength to face it.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Beautiful imagery yet again. We will soar on the wings of eagles and God will cover us with his feathers and shelter us in his wings. When I think of this I see a beautiful embrace or hug. God will wrap his loving arms around you and provide protection, shelter and love. His promises to never leave are your protection and armor in your life.

Can you think of an area in your life where you need to fully trust God? Can you think of one thing that you could lay down at God’s feet and leave there, trusting that God will take care of you? Want to give it a try now? Close your eyes and picture a cross or Jesus standing in a room. Now picture your worry or your fear or your trouble, name it. Now walk that worry or fear or trouble over to the cross or Jesus’s feet and leave your trouble there. Ask God to keep your trouble and to not let you pick it up. Trust God to take care of your trouble and to take care of you.

Lord, we thank you for spending time with us today. Lord help us to lay our troubles and worries at your feet and to not pick them up again. Help us to trust you Lord. Give us your peace and your comfort so that we can feel your protection. Thank you for not giving up on us Lord and for helping us to trust you more. Thank you Lord for meeting us where we are and coming along on our journey. Lord be with us each day going forward and help us to put all our trust in you. Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Trust

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Getting Stronger with God

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Do you ever feel powerless? Do you feel weak? If I had to pick an area of my life where I feel powerless it would be my health. I was talking with a co-worker today and we were talking about how we feel like our bodies are letting us down as we get older. Tonight, even after working out and taking some meds to help with pain, there isn’t a joint in my body that isn’t yelling at me. My back is yelling, my knees are yelling, my elbows are screaming and my feet are crying. I feel absolutely powerless when it comes to my body, especially when it hurts.

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. When I feel powerless or weak God gives me new strength in him. He reminds me it’s not always like this. Some days are better than others and even though today is bad tomorrow might not be. He pushes me to workout when I am exhausted. Reminding me that keeping fit will help, even if it doesn’t help today. I find my new strength in God. I pray for him to give me strength.

The author here isn’t just talking about physical strength, he’s talking about strength to fight the battle or run the race. We put on the full armor of God and can now fight the battle before us. The battle for justice, the battle for love, the battle for being and feeling safe, the battle for God.

They will soar high on wings like eagles. Isn’t the imagery in the Bible just fantastic? Every time I read that sentence I picture an eagle soaring through the sky. Can you imagine soaring over your problems?

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. God gives us the strength to fight the battle, to fight the illness, to fight the exhaustion, to fight the injustice, to fight for love and to fight for God.

Throughout the Bible and throughout our lives God gives us what we need. He gives us peace and comfort, he defines love and shows us how to give it, he gives healing in many ways, he shows us his strength and gives us his strength when we need it. God is in every moment of your life and is there to give you all that you need.

There’s a saying that goes, if you ask God for patience he will give you more opportunities to be patient. God gives you what you need, the tools you need to live your life, but if you ask for strength be ready for God to give you opportunties to become stronger.

Do you feel exhausted in your life? In your faith? Are you weary? Go to God because he can help you, he can give you power and strength so that you can soar on wings like eagles, so that you can run and not grow weary, so that you can walk and not grow faint.

Lord, please be with us when we feel weak or powerless. Remind us that you are there Lord. Give us what we need in this moment and in all the moments to come. We are ready Lord for your new strength, to soar like wings on eagles, to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. Give us your strength and your power as we go throughout our days, today and every day with you Lord. Thank you for your strength when we need it most it is in your loving and strength giving name that we pray Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Strong

The Fullness of God’s Love

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

Today has been a painful day. Chronic illness sounds about as much fun as it is…..or isn’t actually. My official chronic illness is Fibromyalgia and unofficially because doctors are dumb, Rheumatoid Arthritis and today was painful. My fingers hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my hips hurt and my neck hurts. Today my neck hurts the most, more than any of the other hurts.

On my drive home from work, checking for blind spots was not fun, as in “IT HURTS” in all caps because I was yelling every time I had to do it. And I knew when I got home I wanted to find something else to focus on. Something other than the pain. So I finished some projects and when it came time to work out, I decided I would first search for a verse that would give me something else to focus on and avoid working out.

So I turned to Google in my search and found Ephesians 3:16-19 and my heart was filled. I pretty much love this whole passage. Christ dwells in our hearts, and by doing so we are rooted in love and together with the people of faith have power to grasp how wide, deep, long and high God’s love is for us and that this love surpasses all knowledge we have so that we are filled with the fullness of God.

Can we just think about that for a second? God’s love is so huge it is beyond knowledge, beyond comprehension. I think about the love I have for my mom, my dad, my sisters  and brother-in-laws, and then I go a step further and think about the love I have for my nieces and nephews. I love them all lots, so much so I miss them when they are not around. But the love of God surpasses that. God’s love is so huge there is no way I could ever leave it. Think about that for a minute. God’s love is so huge you can never leave it. Even when you turn your back on God, his love never leaves you. Isn’t that amazingly awesome?

So no matter what has gone on in your day today, God loves you. No matter what you have done in your past, God loves you. No matter what you will do tomorrow, God will still love you.

Lord, we thank you so much for your unconditional love. We thank you that it is so huge we cannot understand it. We thank you, that you never give up on us. That you never leave us, that your love is steadfast. We thank you for your love that surpasses our knowledge and we thank you for spending time with us, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Night

This song has been playing in my head, “How deep the father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure. That he should give His only Son. To make a wretch his treasure.”

Life with a head injury

Since my accident last week I have been in almost constant pain. When I sleep my body wakes me up when the pain is too much. Apparently 3 hours is my threshold for pain. Sometimes the pain is so much I’m nauseated and in pain. I squint and scrunch my face hoping the pain will go away and sometimes it works for a second but not for more than that.
My neck still hurts but the pain from my neck is nothing compared to the pain in my head. My car has been totaled and my head is killing me and the guy who hit me has probably already put this accident in his rearview mirror. He’s moving on and my eyes are tearing up from the pain.
There’s nothing more to really say accept that I’m annoyed by how this accident has interfered with my life. I’m glad and thankful that the accident wasn’t worse and that I can still function, even if it is with almost constant, excruciating pain.
I better try to get more sleep, I have to be up soon for work.

Am I strong enough yet?

For those of you that don’t know, I have been passing a stone for the last four days. And throughout the agonizing pain I have had “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson in my head.

Hopefully by now everyone has seen the video made by the children’s cancer ward. I think I watched this video about 20 times when if first came out. I’m in no way comparing my battle of the last few days to this video. I cry every time I watch it but I still think it is an awesome video, and an awesome song.

The lyrics that keep running through my head are:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger/stand a little taller.”

The whole song is about surviving a bad break-up but it has more applications than that.

In my case it is about passing a stone and having the worst pain imaginable. It’s not even a constant pain. For instance, this morning I was feeling so much better but then tonight I am crying because I am in so much pain. Passing a kidney stone is said to be more painful than the hardest labor pains.

I’ve never had a baby, I’ve never even fully passed a stone. But I do know that this is some of the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. What sucks about the kinds of stones that I get is 1) they are huge and 2) I cannot prevent them.

Some stones can be prevented by diet. You control your intake of pops and other harsh sugars and you are all good. My stones are not related to my diet. They are related to the acid build-up in my body. They are related to infections I get that I don’t know I have.

I have a high tolerance for pain. I always have. It could have to do with the issues of my birth or my low weight or all the testing I had to go through when I was a kid. It could have something to do with many many things, I don’t know. I don’t really care. I am thankful for my high tolerance for pain. But it does get in the way, especially when it comes to my production of stones.

Most people are in excruciating pain when they get a bladder infection or a UTI. I never feel them. I know right! I’m so lucky. But the problem with that is that if you don’t feel a UTI it turns into a bladder infection because you never have it checked. And if you don’t feel the bladder infection you are really screwed because it turns into a kidney infection and lucky me I actually feel that crap. That hurts.

Since the infection travels up to my kidneys I also get to produce a kidney stone. Lucky me.

I do drink cranberry juice because it is supposed to kill infections and I haven’t had an infection in a very long time.

But still tonight I am dealing with the pain of passing a stone. Oh joy (sarcasm).

As you can tell my mood is improving by the day. I have watched almost all of the movies I own and most of the ones my parents’ own. I have watched so many movies I cannot tell you which ones I have watched. Today alone I watched: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Friends, Twister, American Pickers, Harry Potter 8, and X-Men: First Class.  That was just today.

I’m bored and to be honest, lonely. I mean I spent all day yesterday on the couch with my mom but I was still lonely. I have left the house once a day for the past 4 days. I’m going stir crazy and I’m not taking it well. Add to the that the pain that has me up most of the night and I’m not sure I even want to hang out with me.

I went to a conference in Pasadena at HROCK when I was there a few months ago. And at this conference one of the main speakers talked about the idea that when you find yourself in a difficult time you should look to God and ask him what you are supposed to be learning from this.

They say that pastors encounter the most difficulty so that they can be present with the people in their midst. I’m sure that this kidney stone is just teaching me to be more compassionate towards others who are suffering. But guess what the other stones, the past surgeries and injuries have all taught me to have a compassionate side. So what the heck is this stone trying to teach me?

Is it’s sole purpose to make me stronger? I’m already pretty strong. I really don’t know what this time around is supposed to teach me. I’m just ready for it to be over. I’m ready to stop alienating the people I love. I’m ready to be smart again and get off these pills that make me act stupid.

I’m ready to be done with this battle. I’m ready to get back to being me. I’m ready. But my body is not agreeing with me.

My body is still in pain. I’m tired of becoming stronger. I’m ready to be whole.

I agree with Kelly Clarkson that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger but the journey to becoming stronger really sucks.

Am I strong enough yet?

Roller Coaster of Emotions

I can’t believe that I’ve only been in Denver since Wednesday. I feel like I have been here for years.

One of the most impactful moments was seeing my grandmother’s body in the casket last night. We walked into the room and there was just the shell of the person who was there and all the denial and things I was holding on to went away.

“She really is gone” I said before weeping (loudly) on my dad’s shoulder. She really isn’t here anymore. I’m sleeping in the room that was her office and typing this blog on her computer (where she bookmarked the page) and she’s not here anymore.

She won’t be laughing, drinking scotch, making dinners and cookies, and saying “Sam Hell” any more. I know she’s in a better place and that she isn’t suffering anymore but that leaves me with little comfort. I’m sad.

I want to see her face but seeing her in that coffin really made it real. I’m glad that she provided that for us and that she made it part of the deal (she had 8 pages of instructions for her funeral and viewing because that’s just the kind of person she was).

I’m glad because it made it real. I’m glad because I could see that she wasn’t in that room. I could leave her body behind because she isn’t there anymore. All that was left was the shell.

My dad and uncle kept saying that’s not her. They kept saying that the funeral home botched the job. But really when I think about Grandma and her face I see the life she brought. I see the smile on her face and the jokes and sarcasm that dripped off her tongue. I see the hugs and the love that she freely gave. She’s not her body and when her soul left all that was left was the shell.

She’s really not here anymore. I’m sad and selfish and wish that she was and there’s tons of things I wish I had said and tons of things I wish I had done but regrets are worthless. So I choose instead to focus on the fond memories I have of summers of being with her and in the last year or so the connection that we made through email and texts. She often had encouraging words and she would say that she was proud of me. Which let’s face it is all of our goals in life: to make someone proud of us. I know other people are proud of me to but the love that we shared was special and now she’s gone and it sucks.

It’s so hard for me to get close to people and trust them and it is in times like these with great pain and suffering that I wonder if it is worth it. I mean deep down I know it is but right now I’m in pain, laying down on the floor in the fetal postion, slamming my fists on the floor, crying out to God “why,” kind of pain. And all I know is the pain.

Maybe tomorrow I will remember that getting closer to people has benefits but right now all I see and feel is the pain.

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