Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons

From Now On

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“From now on…These eyes will not be blinded by the lights”
These are some lyrics from the song “From Now On” of the movie “The Greatest Showman”.
First off, I love this song, and it gets very upbeat towards the end and just makes you want to dance along. But the lyrics are awfully meaningful too.
You know how God will bring something to us at just the right time? This movie has actually been that a few different times. And these lyrics specifically have become so relevant to me lately.
Because my eyes do get blinded by the lights. It’s so easy sometimes.
“For years and years, I chased their cheers, a crazy speed of always needing more”
I’ve gotten this way with books, reading, supporting authors. Wishing, hoping, yearning for their accolades, their acknowledgement. To be honest, it stings to admit it. But it’s an ugly truth for me. I wanted their ‘cheers’, to be noticed for my countless years of book reviewing etc. And it wouldn’t really matter when I received it, because as the song says…it becomes a crazy speed of always needing more. And then I’ll look around and see others getting acknowledged for what they do, and see how they really are supporting these authors and doing more than I am doing, and I get jealous. Because I want that to be me.
And as I said, I get so caught up in it, to the point where I’m blinded by these ‘lights’. And the ‘lights’ can be any number of things – whatever we think our hearts desire is, and we get so blinded by it that it takes our focus away from what really matters.
“…but when I stop, and see You here, I remember who all this was for”
As I sat one evening pouring out my emotions into my journal, I had the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman playing in my mp3 player, and this song hit me so much stronger than before. The words all became clear to my situation, to what I was feeling, and where God wants me to be. So yes, I capitalized the ‘y’ on “You” in the above lyrics, because this is how God related it to me.  So often we get caught up in the whirring and busyness of life, and caught up in what we want to be doing. But we need to just stop. Set our eyes on the One stable thing in our lives, and remember Who we live for. And sometimes we will be forced to stop…

“‘Cause from that rubble,
what remains
Can only be what’s true
If all was lost
Its more I gain
‘Cause it led me back
To You”
This pain of chasing something that was unattainable made me stop – it was the rubble. It was a sort of ‘crash and burn’ situation. You can only run on searching for the lights for so long before the rubble becomes clear. But when the rubble is there,  the One thing that does remain is Him. In all this, He is clear, and if we lose the lights we strive for, we’ve gained more than what we ever thought we could’ve had from the lights. Because a great many times, it’s the pain and the rubble that brings us back to Him. It still makes me tear up as I sit here typing this.
He reminds me that whatever I do, I do for Him. It doesn’t make it easy all of the time, no. It’s hard but also it makes me thankful that He does woo us and bring us back to Him.  Because He is there when it stings. And He is always there to call us back Home. If only we will listen.
“And we will come back home
And we will come back home
Home, again!”
He is our Home. And oh how He rejoices when we return to this point!! When we stand in the rubble and refocus on what – and Who – is true. When we lay down the lights and the cheers, stop chasing after the things of this world, and come back to Him – we come back Home.
So it is my prayer that… “from now on, these eyes will not be blinded by the lights.” From now on, may my heart always find its place secure in the Home of Jesus.  I pray this for you too, reader. That whatever lights you find yourself temporarily blinded by, you will heed His call to come back Home. To what remains.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him.” Philippians 3:8-9
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Posted in Devotional

It’s okay

Today, I am supposed to share a devotional. And yet…I have nothing planned or prewritten out. I’m the kind of person that likes order and routine and schedules, and being prepared, so in general I try to have blog posts typed up at least several days in advance, but this month’s devotional has evaded me. Every time I tried to sit down and write it, nothing would come.
Life has been extremely busy lately, with lots of running and time away from home. I feel like I haven’t learned anything monumental that I could share. And that disappoints me. It feels like I’ve failed. I know that it’s not true. When I first prayed about starting this blogging schedule, my concern was on missing a post, and the Lord has to remind me – would that be the end of the world? In the grand scheme of things, a missed post is not much of a problem at all. I just knew that I would feel badly, even if they were never read anyways – because I am a routine person, and if I say I’m going to do something, I want to follow through with that. Without making mistakes. But that is just not possible sometimes. We will make mistakes, we will miss things that we said we’d do. Not out of malicious intent, but because it happens. I’m still learning to give myself more grace especially in this area.
I think – no, I know – that it is one of the reasons I am hesitant to talk about my writing publicly. Because I feel that if I start talking about it, or even talking about a possible release date in the far future, I will absolutely have to follow through with that, and I know that I can’t right now. And in some ways it is good to not promise what we know we can’t follow through with, but sometimes we do need to give ourselves room to dream, speculate, and grow. To hope. And leave the results in God’s hands.
I’m kind of going off on a bunny-trail now. ^.^
But yes, sometimes –  a lot of times – life will not go how we plan it, and it’s during those times especially that we have to hold on to the One who has everything in His hand. We have to follow His leading even when it brings us to places we didn’t think we’d go. We learn so many little things on these journeys. Maybe they don’t seem monumental at the time of learning them, but when we look back, we realize the little things He’s been growing us in all along.
So no, I don’t have a proper devotional to post today. All I have are these few meager words. And that’s okay. Because…grace. His grace is sufficient for me.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

The God Who Sees Me

The God Who Sees Me

 

We want to be seen. Seen for who we are, not necessarily for what we may (or may not) do. We yearn for someone to see past our scars, and to see the real us inside.

 

Have you felt this way too?

 

A fiction book I read semi-recently was relating to this topic. The main character, Moriyah (you’re probably familiar with her name now since the last two Monday posts have been related to her ;)) had a visible scar as well as invisible scars. She had a hard time believing anyone would ever look past them and see the real her.

And honestly, I’ve felt something similar. With all my quirks, and my issues, I sometimes fear I won’t find someone who can not only deal with said quirks and issues, but also will see past them and see me.

As I spoke about this to God one morning, He brought to mind a quote from the book where Moriyah’s father says to her that he believes that Yahweh will bring her a man who sees past her scar for who she is.

And with that God affirmed the same to me – He will bring me someone, someday, who will see me. Not just my oddities and struggles, but me.

 

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But even greater knowledge is that He sees me.

He knows me even better than I know myself. That means He sees the absolute WORST of me, but…He still sees me, the me He created in His image. This truth touched me even deeper.

During this last Passover a while ago, my family and I gathered at our table and refreshed our minds about this holiday, and as we prepared our hearts to partake in His communion, I sat there with tears in my eyes because…I’m not good enough. I’ve got scars. Lots of them. I’m not nearly as healed as I yearn to be. But right then, as I was about to take the piece of matza bread, Jesus gave me the picture of Him holding out His wrists to me, showing me His scars. For me. He revealed to me that yes, He sees all my scars, and He offers Himself for me anyway. Freely.

 

 

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28

 

 

Jesus sees me, accepts me, cleanses me, and loves me.

The very same truth is the truth for each and every one of His children. He sees you.  He is El Roi.

He doesn’t just see what you try to hide, or what you feel makes you broken, He sees the real you, the beautiful you. Fashioned by Him. And He loves how He sees you.

Regardless if any human person on earth sees you, sees me, we can rest absolutely assured that He sees us, and calls us His beloved.

Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons

The Wall

Happy Monday, readers. This is the Monday where I usually share a devotional/inspirational-type post written by me. But I’ve been dealing with some fatigue and lack of good night’s sleep lately, so haven’t really been up to writing one out. However, I didn’t want to miss this post completely, so I am sharing a devotional written by Joni Todda, that a friend of ours shared with us. I hope it encourages you as it has encouraged me.

 

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The Wall.png

 

 

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'” 
Matthew 14:29-31

My friend Dan, a race car driver, was recently talking about a terrible accident in which a NASCAR legend was killed. The driver’s car had been in first place. Slightly bumped, it appeared he overcorrected and then, in the next instant, crashed into the wall. I asked my friend Dan if that kind of thing happens often on the racing circuit. “Oh yes,” he said. “Guys in their cars get into a spin, get bumped, and they see that wall coming! I’ll tell you, there’s one thing they’re trained to do. They must not look at that wall. Their training tells them to keep their eyes on the track, and steer out of the spin. If they look at the wall, they’ll freeze. Your body just reacts — you can’t help it. The answer is to concentrate every nerve on steering toward that open space.”

That answer really spoke to me. Because lately I’ve been experiencing an unusual amount of aches and pains, and it’s had me thinking about… the wall. It’s not going to get easier, Joni. Old age is coming faster than you realize, and boy, you’d better brace for an impact. As a result of my fears, I’ve “frozen up” at times, worrying about the future and its problems rather than the present and its opportunities.

Paul writes, “Set your heart on things above,” and the gospels say, “Lift up your head, for your salvation draws nigh.” It’s advice worth following… or you just might hit the wall.

Lord Jesus, sometimes my life situation makes me afraid. I feel panic rising, my mind locks up, and my fears loom like a large wall.  As best I can today, Lord, I will fix my eyes on You, and not on my problems and fears.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

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There’s a wall in everyone’s life, and it’s definitely easy to look at that instead of keep our mind focused on Jesus. What a difference it makes, though, when we do persevere and look to Jesus instead of the wall before us. <3
Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons, Videos

Yet

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“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

 

 

“Yet”

 
That word stands out to me in those verses above.
So many things were going wrong in this passage, disaster after disaster. They had every right to complain, to be down casted, according to the world’s standards. And yet…there’s that word. Yet. Yet I will praise You, O God of my salvation. I don’t know how he managed to utter those words when everything around him seemed hopeless. But maybe that’s just it – Habbaukkuk rose above his circumstances, through God’s strength. He looked at everything that was wrong around him, but he didn’t blame God or be broken down by despair. In fact, he didn’t even let himself stay where he was, neutral or nonfeeling, like could have. In the circumstances he described, it would have been easy enough to just shut down, or go into denial. To lose all hope.
But he didn’t. He decided to pick himself out of that mud and rise above it – to let God bring him to walk upon his high places, and say to the Lord that he trusts Him. No matter what. No matter how terrible things are, he will trust his Savior and praise Him through it all.

 
That is hard. But it is a choice.

 
Just the other week, I was faced with that choice too. My family and I were about to set off for a fun day. We had food, our ‘herd’ were in their stalls, grapes were on the vines (metaphorically); we had lots to be thankful for. But I was having horrendous sensory issues that morning. The tears were uncontrollable, I couldn’t stand what I had on, and I was stressed over ruining the fun we had planned. We had to leave in less than half an hour, and I was still sobbing.
My dear mother encouraged me to go up to my room and seek Jesus. Even just for the 10-15 mins before we had to leave.
As I sat in my room, I cried and poured out my heart to God, expressing myself to Him that I didn’t want to be uncomfortable, I wanted to have fun today. I wanted my clothing to feel fine so I could enjoy the day.
I opened my “Jesus Today” to the “randomly” picked devotional, and one of the verses shared was:

 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

 
The devotional went on to say how we are so strongly inclined to lean on our own understanding and that mindset dies hard. But the truth is, we can’t understand His ways with us. He is infinite. Thankfully we can rest assured that He has our best interests at heart.
I continued to pray and listen, and was just utterly hit with the reminder that Satan is a thief. He was doing his utmost best to keep me thinking on my clothing, keep me focused on the worry that I wouldn’t have a good day unless I was comfortable. He was trying to steal my joy. And I was letting him. Until I said NO. He’s an expert thief who comes in unannounced, but oh so present. I read the verses I had on my wall, each pouring into me the strength of Jesus, of His Word, and His promises. I verbally told Satan, “No” through tears. I had to repeat it over and over, “You will not steal my joy today. You will not ruin my day just because I hate my clothes. No.”

 
We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. (Romans 8:37)

 
I hated my clothing. But because of Jesus, I could rise above that. I could employ the ‘yet factor’.
These clothing pieces may feel awful and they may needle me, but YET I will trust in God. I will give this day back into HIS hands, because isn’t that where it starts?

 
“Seek ye the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mat 6:33

 
I was so focused on my clothing and my comfort because I wanted to have a good day. But a good day is not dependent on whether or not I am comfortable. A good day is not dependent on the circumstances around us. A day is good because it’s from Him and has been submitted into His hands, for His glory.
So as we left the house that morning, I continued to repeat the verse “We are more than conquerors” and I did end up having a very good day. Because I took my focus off the thief and his pursuits, and put them on my Savior.

 
Yet I will praise You.

 

This song is a beautiful one with lyrics that correlate with this post.

 

Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

Hope

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Today I want to share a more personal lesson – an experience I recently went through, and what God showed me during it. Yes, the subject is Hope. There are a great many lovely songs and Bible verses centered around this word. It is, indeed, an inspiring word. But previously, I hadn’t really ‘attached’ to it as much as I have now.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I have long battled with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and it shadows a lot of my life experiences, over-arcing into many areas of my life. It’s rather boring to talk about, but it does play a significant role in my journey.

One night recently, I had been struggled with my “sensory-issues” in the form of clothing. As is typical for me, I was having an awful time adjusting to how the clothing felt on my skin. Each clothing article felt just terrible, and I was dealing with some other struggles that were majorly stressing me. I was in tears, and just a mess. With my dear mom’s encouragement I went upstairs to try to pray about it all – just take all my stresses, worries, and uncomfortableness to our Lord.

I’ve experienced a lot of amazing healing from Him throughout my life. God is good. But as I sat at my desk that I night, I wasn’t feeling a major feeling of healing. I still felt low. Yes, I felt His awe-some presence, but I didn’t feel healed, and that’s what I wanted.

I flipped through the pages of my Bible, pouring out my heart as I went, and the word ‘hope’ stood out in almost every verse I “randomly” came upon. But honestly, I still felt downcasted. The verses were good, but weren’t really sticking to me. I reached for my last prayer-journal and again opened randomly, praying that I would turn to a page that would help me, minister to me. ( My prayer-journals aren’t entirely filled with prayers – in fact, they’re mostly verses I write down or things God has shown me, so I guess I should probably rename them. ;))

Sure enough, I turned right to an entry I had made in May of 2017, where I was once again writing out whatever my current struggle was and what the Lord showed me. Right at the top of that entry was the verse featured in the graphic above.

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Good Hope Through Grace.

I re-copied the verse into my current prayer-journal and emphasized that phrase. Good hope. Through Grace. 

I’d like to share what our Almighty Father spoke to my heart then:

“Hope, My child. Trust is good and vital, but also hope. Do not forget to hope in Me. Hope is a way in despair. Hope is the companion in sorrow. Hope in Me.”

And then He led me to write out my struggles but beside each one write: “Hope in Him”. Over and over. Hope. Let Him complete. He soothed me again with His words, “As you weep and as you cry, remember your hope in Me. Fight for it. Cleave to it; for through it you cleave to Me. Sorrow, but hope.”

The realization, the reminder, that hope is a companion in sorrow was profound to me. Hope does not take away our sorrow – it does not change our situation, but it makes a way through them. It lightens our burden, and eases our spirits. It is the light in the darkness. I pray we can all comprehend it and not turn away from it.

So, I sat there, tears still marking my face, pain still hurting inside, and my clothes feeling awful. But Hope. “Hope in Me”, He says. Hope is our companion as we sorrow – and we will sorrow. We are not promised good days all of the time. But we are promised His grace, and His Hope. Hope eternal. Forever, and always.

It’s hard, though – and that, I believe whole-heartedly, is why He said we had to fight for it, and cleave to it. The world and all its trials will try to rip it away from us. But we have to fight to keep it, fight to hold on to it, to cleave to it. For through it, we cleave to Him.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps. 43:5)

If you are sorrowing, my friends, remember to Hope. Hope that the Lord is here, hope that He is our consolation, our greatest reward, and He will remove us from our troubles – one day. Hope that He is GREAT, and all-powerful. And He is Lord.

Hope.