Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2013

Discovering my Mountain

Dear Anne, 

I have just finished my 3 part blog posting on "Not Forsaken". If you have not read them I hope you will because otherwise this letter will not make a lot of sense. At the bottom of the 3rd post I wrote about how my friend keeps telling of me of a mountain that when God has something he wants to teach us and we ignore Him we will circle around a mountain but never actually able to climb it. As beautiful as I think mountains are I have never been an outdoorsy person. So I apologize ahead of time if I lose the analogy. 

Anyway, the idea of this mountain and circling around it comes from the Old Testament, the story of the Israelite's and their wandering through the desert as they wait to enter the promise land. (Sorry I am also not a big Old Testament scholar so forgive me if I miss quote something). But the Israelite's are lead out of Egypt (and their slavery) by Moses and Aaron and very soon after entering the desert they begin to complain and grumble about how God has abandon them. First they decide to build an altar and make an idol and say that Baal (the golden calf) brought them out of the Egypt. Then at one time they want to return back to Egypt and go back to their harsh life of slavery as they think it will be better than their lives in the desert with God. Because they are not following God they are left to wander the desert. But God has not abandoned them. It is written that a cloud of smoke by day and fire by night lead them (Deuteronomy 1:32,33). Even with having God's presence they still grumble and did not always trust in God. Before I go criticizing the Israelites I should stop, how many time have I grumbled and not trusted God? And so many times when I read the Old Testament I realize I am much like the Isrealites.  I may not have God's presence like a cloud of smoke but I definitely have God's presence in my life. So let me move on...

As I was working on my 3 post for "Not forsaken" and reflecting on all my post I have already written I discovered something. As much as I write about hope... I still don't know what it means to hope in the Lord and in that I don't know what it means to truly trust in the Lord.  I know to trust in the Lord in the grand scheme of things. I know that the Lord has a perfect plan for me and in that I trust. I also know when I try to take control over my life it feels like it falls apart. But on a day to day basis, I don't know what it means to Trust in the Lord, so I keep circling this mountain. 

how I imagine letting go
I will admit that I have a fear of not being "good enough." So sometimes I feel I have to watch every step to make sure I am being "perfect" (even though I know perfection cannot be reached). I fear that I am not "good enough" people will see me as the wreck (I feel I often am) and they will stop loving me. So when I think things are going bad in my life, I try to take control in the situation, and fix myself. Though when I try to take control of the situation I slip, I fall and world seems even worse off than when I started. I know it is because I have pushed God away because I want control. So I go around the mountain again. I feel this is a constant pattern in my life. But I am going to change it... so I can go up the mountain and experience all of God's goodness and grace.

As I said I am not an outdoorsy person so I don't really know how to climb a mountain. In fact the last time I climbed a mountain was almost 6 years ago and there was a marked path and I had a group of friends and leaders. While I have no marked path here, I know I have God. I have friends and I have lots of people who speak great truth in my life. 

So I hope to learn how to climb this mountain. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Not forsaken pt. 3ish

As I was writing my Not Forsaken blog post I was reminded of some other post I feel I have written on much the same topic. So I wanted to high light them because faith is a constant journey. Pictures and previews below...Happy Reading!

I can't keep it bottled up inside any more.
I am burnt out.
In my life I have wanted to be many things
but my heart has only wanted to be two things
a wife and a mother.
I have placed so much time and energy thinking and dreaming about those two things
I lose my focus.
A few hours ago I got back from a wonderful retreat and I come back with one BIG take away. I have written many times on this blog that I have wanted to be a wife and mother but that feels very  far away from distant from me. For awhile I walked around a little depressed because I thought if that is the purpose of my life why is it not happening. Then I wondered is this really God's desire? So I began praying "Lord please change my desires if they are not yours" quickly followed by "but I really want to be a wife and mother." Up until this weekend I thought this was a good prayer. I mean I couldn't lie to God and pretend that I didn't want my desires but I knew His desires were more important so I thought this prayer was a good compromise. 
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4

I know that verse is used a lot. At first reading it should seem like that God should give you whatever you desire/want. So many times we do not get what we want. Does that mean this verse is a lie? No. I think this verse tells us there is a process (a process I am still learning).

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart- Jeremiah 29:13. The most important part in these verses is the Lord. When we seek God with all our hearts, we will find God. When we delight ourselves in the Lord that is when we get the desires of our hearts. Often times I pray "I want this and I want that" and when I don't get I give up and usually pout and complain. That is not where prayer should stop. 

Hope is an interesting word. In church and in the bible we are told to hope in the Lord. I have long to struggled with the idea what this idea truly means. When I was in my most serious relationship I knew what it was like to hope in our relationship and hoped that one day we would get marry. But that did not work out and when we broke up I felt like I had lost all hope. 

I have been going through a study in the Bible on the word hope. Before this study I knew what it was like to hope for a good grade; I knew what it was like to hope for/in a relationship; but I never knew what it meant to "Hope in the Lord" (a phrase often used in church). I got to hear my friend talk about what she was going through and she said the phrase "God wants our best in life so we don't need to fear that things will work out." Our best does not mean financial prosperity or happiness all the time but it does mean God's will being done perfectly through us. From the time she mentioned that to now (and on going) my perspective on the word HOPE has changed. More on this in my Hope is an Act of Waiting post. During my quiet time my study came across this scripture...

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus. 
-Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV, 1984)

You know it is interesting. My friend keeps talking about how when God is trying to to teach us something and we ignore Him, He will let us have our own way for awhile (a month, a year, tens years, whatever) but we will keep circling the mountain. We will go around the mountain and we won't really be able to climb up the mountain and experience all his greatness... I think this my mountain. Hope is my mountain. I have written about hope and the future so much but I have yet to grasp what it really means to Hope in the Lord. I keep underestimating his grace and what He has in store for my. I can see my mountain now I just need to learn how to climb it. 

In my post "A thought for Thursday" I wrote "And the roads to get up those mountains are loopy and sometimes you may not be able to see where you are going. But isn't that what makes life fun... the unknown?"  I am not so good at embracing the unknown and right now I feel my life is a lot of unknowns. And not to sound all preachy, but I know God is here to take me through all the valleys and hill tops and He has promised never to forsake me.

By: Brooke Fraser

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

No fight left

No Fight Left
By: JJ Heller.

Dear Anne,

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written. I could easily blame Grad-School but considering I have had no motivation to do anything in school, I cannot really say that. The last couple of weeks I have felt my life going down hill. I even wrote you about how I was focusing on the good things in my life, I thought that letter would keep me up-beat. I am sad to say that it has not. I have even reached out to my "support team" (close family/friends) for them to pray for me and the response I have gotten has been so heart warming, I have felt truly loved but some how my heart an mind keep dwelling on the bad and I just see my life as a downward spiral (as much as I smile and pretend to be all right). I even questioned if I belonged to him since I kept having these times in my life where I was low and discouraged.

Well over the past couple of weeks my church has been going through the book of Jonah. He is mostly known for Jonah and the Whale but that is so little part of the story. When Jonah goes to Nineveh (the bad guys) and after little convincing they repent and our saved from destruction. The story goes further but I am going to stop right there. Both Jonah and the people of Nineveh had turned away from God and both were saved by God's never ending grace. At the end of the sermon my pastor said "there is nothing you can do to out run God's grace". As awesome as that statement is I will admit I didn't go right home and immediately go to God (as I should have done) but later Sunday night as I was brushing my teeth I read the verse taped near my mirror.

"Find rest O my soul in God; my hope alone comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5)

And I thought, "how little do I consider God my hope." I have this verse written in multiple places and I never really consider God my Hope. I know God has saved me and I know God wants the best for me but how little do I actually think about God's hope and grace. Then as I was sitting and \
praying, I realized I keep underestimating God's grace. God's majestic saving and healing powers. 

I wrote that first part and then during my weekly phone date with my dad, I just couldn't hold back the tears anymore. He was just talking about how I was doing so well, I was climbing Mount Everest (in Grad-School) and I am at the last 10% and this is the hard part. I told him I didn't feel I was climbing Mount Everest I felt I was going a downward spiral to no where. I hate standing some days and I just want to hide and cry. 

I realize I am much like Jonah in the whale. I am going through a hard time and as easy as it would be for me to just retreat and sulking in my distress. I need to turn to God and  find my hope in him. Right now this is easier said than done.

Today I read Psalm 86 and it was exactly what I need to read. So while I am still in this low place, I need to remember God is with me. I just wish I felt Him more. 
I liked verse 5-7
Sorry this letter is a bit scattered... it reflects my state of being right now. 

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Is it bad that I just want to spend the day eating chocolate and staying in my PJ's?