Showing posts with label not forsaken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label not forsaken. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life starts all over again...

Hello my lovely readers,

This feels like an odd time... We have passed Labor Day weekend and everyone is talking about Fall. I will admit I could do with some cooler weather but I am not ready for it to be Fall, I am enough of a "Negative Nelly" that I don't like Fall because that means Winter is coming and I hate Winter. Though I will admit I am looking forward to Pumpkin Spice Lattes, being cozy in sweaters, and I am hoping with cooler weather I will want to cook more in my kitchen. Right now my kitchen feels too hot to cook in but I am not embracing that just because it is after Labor Day that it is now Fall... NO! But it does feel weird now, because Summer does feel over. So this is an in between time.

Doesn't life often feel like this when we are stuck in between seasons we can see a new beginning but we are not there yet? Well maybe it is just me.

Throw back: when my niece and sister came to Boston
There is a great quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that says "Life starts all over again when it get crisp in the fall." Even up here in New England we are still having some end of summer warmth, though it is apparent the day are getting shorter and sometimes the morning are cool enough I wrap a scarf around my neck (but I just love scarves).

Anyway, I have been feeling for the last couple of months a new beginning is upon me... And things are really happening. Sadly, I cannot put all the changes happening on social media, trust me if I could tell you all I would... but until things are settled I cannot. I am not a fan of change, it usually stresses me out because in change there is something in the unknown. However, as I feel this newness coming on me I have been actively praying to God for him to prepare my heart for what is to come. That is one amazing thing about God, He knows every detail of our lives. He knows our past, present, and future and He truly is control. Many times I think I can handle my own life and I try to be in control and
slowly I start feeling I am beginning to drown.

I am sick of that cycle, so as I felt this "new beginning" feeling I am trying to cling to God.

I pray frequently that my life is in His hands. For we are not promised tomorrow, next month or next year, and I pray that God leads me on while I am on this journey of figuring things out. I know God's future for me is secure and I know He only wants the best for me. This is what I hold onto.

Question: Are you facing a time of newness in your life? Are you clinging on to God?

I will keep you posted on all this.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness... In the Moments

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessings in My Life" and I talked about the people who have blessed my life. This week I wanted to talk about the moments in my life that I look back and remember God was with me. But for those moment to make sense I wanted to give you a little insight into my life... I know in the past I have provided insights but I wanted to write them down again.

I have not always been a Christian or Christ Follower (as I like to say). Actually I became a christian after I lied to my dad three times about using his computer and was punished by being sent to my room only allowed to read my Bible or twiddle my thumbs.  I do not know why but I read 2 Peter and chapter 3 really got to me "The Lord is not slow in keeping in his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" -2 Peter 3:9 and next "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (Christ's return), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"- 2 Peter 3:14. Having just lied to my dad, I felt guilty and I knew that if Jesus came back at that moment he would not find me spotless or blameless and at that moment I prayed for God to come into my life and save me. I was twelve at that time and it would take years for me to even begin living out the faith I proclaimed that day.

Senior Portrait
In my junior year of high school I suffered from minor depression and once thought about killing myself. Those words hurt to write... but as I imagined it, I didn't actually want to die, I just wanted for someone to know how much pain I was in. My thought was to take some sleeping pills (I took occasionally) but then when my mom came to wake me (as she did) she would realize what I had done and be able to get me to the hospital, they would pump my stomach, and they would save me. I didn't do this but just the thought I wanted to do it made me so broken inside... and I blamed myself a lot for these feelings. Anyway, during my senior year I went to therapy and got through some issues... but it still wasn't enough. I was about to move to Boston and I worried what if I move to Boston and slipped back into depression and wanted to kill myself. At home I had the support system of my parents but in Boston I knew no one and it scared me, but I also knew there had to be something bigger out there that could hold me up when I was low.

Because my parents were divorced and living in different states, I spent my summers in Oklahoma and for one week we went to church camp. I love my family so I say this with love but I looked at my dad and sisters and thought "yeah it's easy for them to have faith because they are strong" and I felt so weak and I felt so broken that there was no way that my brokenness could come to God. Well the week God put some amazing people in my life that were honest to me and told me of their brokenness and how God rescued them and saved them. Something I knew I needed because I didn't slip back into depression. So it was then I say I truly gave my life to Christ.

Now I believe if I died in high school I would have gone to heaven but if Christ asked me what I had done for Him? I would have had to say "nothing" because honestly there was nothing in my life that marked me as a Christ follower but that prayer I had said years ago.

My dear friend and I
Anyway after I got back from camp, I asked my dad to help me find a church in Boston and through his guidance and my mom reminding me of Park Street Church, I decided to go there and on my first Sunday there I felt I had come home. Also that first Sunday I met a really good friend of mine... and she allowed me to break down my walls and throw away the masks I had been wearing for so long. Over my Freshman year I felt so much my desperation for God but I felt more than anything His presence in my life.

In my Sophomore year through another girl we met at bible study we learned about Reunion Christian Church, and I remember my friend "C" telling me I had to go and when I asked her if I had a choice she said "no." That was our friendship worked and I am so thankful for that because through Reunion I have found a second family. Also through Reunion I decided to get baptized.

I remember, Reunion, went through this series called "Christian No More" where we talked about what it meant to be truly being a "Christ Follower" and one time my pastor (bald guy in the picture above) told us to "STOP" being a Christian. I didn't know what he meant by that and it was a big struggle for me because I felt he was telling me to stop being who I was. Well that's not what he was saying he was saying to stop calling yourself a "Christian" stop putting rules in the way of faith, and stop putting on a facade if you are not truly loving Jesus. Here is a parody video we watched during the series:

Now I am not saying that being a Christian is bad, because I still declare myself a Christian but I think it is more important to be true to Christ in your heart than just on the outside.

Even through all this, I have had low moments with God. Moments I didn't feel God was with me, moments I thought God had abandoned me or moments I would cry at night believing I was no longer a child of God. It is not because God had abandoned me because He promises over and over again in His word that He will "not forsake you" one of my favorite versed about that is Deuteronomy 31:6- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies of Israel), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  

One of my darkest moments came after I broke up with a boyfriend, I thought I was going to marry. I realized that I had put my hope in him and in our relationship that I lost my hope in God. I couldn't even tell you what it meant when people said "put your hope in God" so I went back and studied all the mentions of the word "Hope" listed in my Bible concordance and it is still not something I completely understand. But I keep digging, I keep looking for times God provides hope. My favorite verse recently has been Hebrew 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." And to me that me that no matter what come our way God is with us. God is with me and He is with you... even if you don't think He is.  

Okay, this post has gotten longer than I originally thought... and after writing out all my thoughts I don't know if I have displayed the moments God has been with me.. and I am okay with that because God is with me at all times. He is with me when I am having good days and I can totally feel His presence and He is with me when I am cannot.  He is with me when I am active and sharing my faith and He is with me when I am quiet and just going about my life. He is with me when I am crying and He is with me when I am crying. That is the amazing thing about Him, He will never leave me because He created me (and you) and He will be with us forever. In this moment God has blessed my life in showing me that. I hope you can find the blessing in knowing He is with you as well and that no matter how broken or shattered your life is, He can heal and mend your life... in fact He is the only One who can.

I am going to step off my preachy soap box now and just say if you are reading this God is with you and loves you.

I did not want to leave this blog post with out sharing this video from my trip to Honduras with Living Water... for me that sticks out as the pinnacle of knowing God was with me because I felt there were so many hoops that if God wanted me on that trip I was going to have to go through and He blessed me through all of them. I am not saying you have to go a trip to know God's presence, you can know it in your living room, on your commute to work, or just making dinner. For me however re-watching that video and actually writing this blog post I think God has shown me that he is with me always. Are there ways or moments you recognize Him? What are those moments you saw as struggle but looking back now are moments of hope? 

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Faithful music for Friday

Hello lovely readers,

I have posted this week I have gone through some dryness in my faith... Here are some songs that have been running in my head these last few weeks. These have inspired me to continue on through this time. 

Song: 10,000 Reasons 
By: Matt Redman

Song: This is Amazing Thing
By: Phil Wickham

Song; And if Our God is for Us
By: Christ Tomlin

Monday, August 24, 2015

Things Seem Up in the Air

Hello lovely readers,

Last week on Facebook, I shared I was struggling in my quiet time and that "It has been hard for me to get into the word and really feel connected to God's word. I read my Bible usually as I eat breakfast but it doesn't sink in and I feel leave the moment with no difference to my day. I feel I am kind of drifting away from being connected to God. If you have any suggestions of routine, books (in the Bible) or Devotionals to read, that would be great. Also prayers (I know there are bigger things in the world that are happening) would be greatly appreciated because I know this drifting feeling and it is very isolating." And I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my Facebook community, people who haven't talked to in years provided support and I felt blessed to have the support. So first I want to thank the people.

I have recently felt things have been in the air with my life and I seeking God's direction for life... And I am not sure what that is but I feel change is in the air. During one of my quiet times I prayed "Lord give me guidance. I feel so many things are up in the air... bu my desire to do what you want. Oh Lord I wish I had a vision for what you wanted from my life, but oh God, and I might never have a clear vision for my life. I pray Oh God you lea me no matter what may com. Be my God. Lord I know I have strayed from you. I know I have not kept you a top priority and I have fallen away from you. I know come in desperation because I want my life to make sense, and right now it doesn't. Lord but I also know my life depends on you... Lord be with me, guide me, take my by the hand and show me your path." Then I read the passage "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"-Psalm 27:14. 

Sometimes when I have these moments of dryness I feel God has left me... but in my truest heart I know that hasn't true because I know my life depends on God. Over the years I have learned that when I try to do things on my own that my world feels to begins to crumble and that I feel I drown with no hope of being saved... but God is my true savior. Though I will be the first one to admit that it is hard to hold on to these truths, especially when things aren't going the way you imagine.

Right now I am in a time of waiting and knowing that no matter what I am going through that God with is with. While things seem up in the air I know I can rely on God to guide me. That is what I am seeking God's guidance through these times. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Not Forsaken Pt. 4

 Hello Lovely Readers,

You know when you read something and you feel it was the perfect time to read it. You might have read it before and yet it didn't hit you quite the same way and it felt as this was the right time to read it because it truly spoke to you.  Well that is how I felt this morning as I was going through my quiet time.

I have been reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (so I owe all quotes to him), I tried reading it awhile ago but did not complete it, but last semester as I felt the loom of completing grad-school and having no clue what to do with my life I decided to pick this book back up. I have been reading it occasionally and I am on chapter 14 titled "When God seems Distant." Upon reading that I knew this would be an intriguing chapter for me. Lately, I have been feeling distant from God, I have been feeling like I have been floating through life and not really clinging to anything including God. I guess aimless is the best word to describe it.

It has had me worried because these feelings of aimlessness frequently lead me to feelings of treading water and eventually sinking into mild depression. So when I begin to feel this way I like to take action right away to prevent them from growing. Well I feel I have been going through the motion of trying to prevent these feelings and while I don't feel I have sunk, I have moments where I feel I am treading water.

full pic from above
Even before I read this chapter I prayed "I am tired of seeking out things to complete me" when those things are just temporary and what I really need it God to complete me. I feel I have said these words (or variations of them) for the last couple of months but nothing has changed. In fact I feel more aimless than I have ever had. I feel like I am in a time of waiting, waiting to see what will come next in my life and I have no idea how long I will have to wait.

Anyway, going back to my reading. I read the line "To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation--times when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten you." I mean I know he hasn't, there are numerous scriptures on God not forsaking us. But even still it is hard to reassure myself that He hasn't forgotten about me. Warren points out various verses that point to this fact. However, the verse I like the most about this is John 14:16-18: "And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever...I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

 Warren is quick to point out that even though God will never leave us, we may not always feel him, "There are times when he appears to be MIA, missing in action, in your life."  Yep, that is how I feel right now. I filled my journal with this and wondering where God is. I know God is all present, but why I cannot feel that presence in my life. Warren wrote: "When God seems distant, you may feel that he is angry with you or disciplining you for some sin... But often this feeling of abandonment or estrangement from God has noting to do with sin. It is a test of faith--one we all must face: Will you continue to love, trust, obey, and worship God even when you have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of his work in your life?"

Immediately I want to say "Yes!" In reality this will be harder than saying "yes."

I know God is at work in my life because every morning I wake up, everyday I breathe and my heart continues to beat. That alone is him working in me. The fact He created me, the fact that He died on the cross to save me, the fact that He has kept me going every day till now is enough for me to trust him and worship Him. Warren quotes Psalm 37:28: "For the Lord loves the just, and will not forsake his faithful ones." 

While I looked at this time as aimless... I am now going to try to see as a test and reassure myself that God has not abandoned or forsaken me. My favorite verse comes back to me: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful- Hebrews 10:23. I know God know has promised me He will not forget me and that is the promise I hold to because God is faithful in keeping his word.

Writing that doesn't mean this will no longer be a struggle. Writing that means I will try to learn to worship God despite of how I feel and despite of what I am facing.

Warren stated "Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your hear to God. Unload every emotion that you're feeling... Didn't you know that admitting your hopelessness to God can be a statement of faith?" I feel I do this but sometimes I feel I sugar coat my emotions to God but God already knows whats in my heart and mind, so why don't tell him actually?

I don't have an answer to this yet, this is all a work in progress. However, even though God feels distant right now I know He is with me and He will not forsake me.

It has been almost two years since I wrote parts 1-3ish click here to read more.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Facing some truths in my life

The Ten Commandments

I have been reading through the Old Testament and there is a big stress on idolatry and I guess this is easily thought to be bowing down to statue and maybe I have seen the movie The Ten Commandments too much because I sometimes picture that when I think of idolatry. While the commentary in my Bible always mention that idolatry can came in forms of wanting power, money or sex and I thought then I am good I don't really think about those things at least not in an obsessive way. So in some way I thought I was exempt from idolatry but in reading the Old Testament I have come to see myself more and more as an Israelite.

Let me go back, I am a child of divorce, and while I never thought my parents divorce was my fault, I felt the ripples of their divorce and believed that I could lessen the pain of it if I made them both happy with me. So from a young age I was a "people pleaser" so much so much that I felt like people wouldn't love me unless I made them happy. In that I never felt good enough to be loved because no matter what I did I didn't feel like it was good enough. For example one time my dad and I were at the hardware store and he mentioned something about wearing make-up (at that time I didn't wear make-up) and I just started crying because I thought "Really, really. I had just finished high school and gotten into college and was trying so hard to be the 'good daughter' and you are concerned about my make-up." I now know my dad made that comment only to be helpful but I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And my dad was just there so confused by why I was crying. Anyway needless I have often felt like no matter what I did I just wasn't good enough. It kind of felt like there was this hole in me that no matter what I did I couldn't fill and until it was filled I kept thinking people wouldn't love me.

At my church we are going through the book of Hosea and talking about how God pursued the people of Israel. If you don't know the book of Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute and in the story she runs back to her former ways and Hosea has to buy her freedom back. Hosea's life was a symbolism for God's love to his people. Because while they were praising other gods and falling for idolatry, God still loved them and still called them his people. It really is an amazing story. Last week my pastor was talking about idolatry and while this thought had been floating through my mind he said something about when we have idolatry in our lives it might present itself in different ways but at the heart of is idolatry. He gave an example but the best example of this comes from my own life.

I will say, while I have never sought power or money I have sought love and acceptance to the point where I would say it was my identity. In fact when I was dating my most serious boyfriend, to date, I started putting the hope and trust I should have in God in him and when it ended, it crushed me. I almost felt I lost my world.Anyway, going back, to my example I feel my desire to be loved and accepted as become my idol... it has manifested in people pleasing and it has manifested in my insecurities and in my pride. But at the heart of it, I just want to be loved.

The other day I was walking down the street thinking about my outfit hoping that it was cute and it hit me "hey I think its cute and I only have me and God to impress." And God made me, He formed me and He knows all the details of me. He knows my ups and downs, my good times and bad times and he knows all my flaws and He still calls me "Beloved." The verse Psalm 45:11 comes to mind "The King is enthralled by your beauty honor Him for he is the Lord."

As I am writing this it sounds silly that I struggle so much with love and acceptance because God loved me so much He sent His son to live a perfect and humble life, die as an innocent sacrifice for all my sins, and conquer death so I can have a new complete life in Him. I would love to say that I got this now under control but these feeling have deep roots in me and it is a process to get to. But I am blessed to have God, my family and friends to support me in this. And slowly I hope to hear God's words of love instead of the words of fear in me.

So while I may not be bowing down to a golden calf like the Israelites I definitely need to work on not bowing down to other gods in my life.
Hebrews 10:23- This verse has come to me a lot in the last few weeks
*- I promise a lighter topic next time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"I am enough"

I saw this pin and felt the need to write... so this is sort of a free write. "I am enough." Easy words to say, harder words to believe. "I am enough." I have to say it with a long sigh. "Enough" What does that fully mean?

For me it comes with multiple meanings. In my quiet times God has constantly reminded me of his completeness. He is full of love, truth, grace, justice, hope and joy. He constantly reminds me that when I seek completeness from other things I will always be left incomplete. Things of this world our temporary. They are fleeting. They are here today and gone tomorrow. We might feel temporary full but it is gone as quickly as it came in. I constantly look for things to make me feel complete. I look to school, approval from co-worker, friends and family, even a future relationship. But I never feel complete even when I have approval because God is the only one to complete. So maybe that I in "I am enough" is God. He is enough, He is more than enough to fill me and make my life worth something. He is more than enough to save me from my doubts, insecurities, shame and pride. So maybe when I hear the voices of my doubts, insecurities, and shame I should remember God's whisper "I am enough."

"I am enough" another deep sigh. Most of my life I have dealt with questioning doubts wondering if I am good enough... sometimes it almost paralyses. I feel I haven written about this before but I keep coming back to it. My church is going through a series called "My important question" last week a girl talked about shame and this week a guy talked about deserving God's love. Shame she said is the idea that you are a bad person. As many good days as I have deep down I still know the pain of never feeling right. I have gotten so used to wearing mask, for people to see the "Blaire" I want to them to see sometimes I question who I really am. Then I feel sometimes if people saw the "real" me... they wouldn't love me. Even writing that I know that is a lie. But there is something in me that listens to the lie more than the truth. I need to hear God's whisper that "I am enough." He created me in His image, He created me to be His masterpiece, He calls me His child, and His beloved. No matter what I can do can separate me from Him. How can I write those words with out a second thought but it still takes more energy to believe those truth.

That made me think- I am currently a A Voice in the Wind the title comes from the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 about how God calls Elijah not in an earthquake or fire but in a gentle whisper. I think God desires us to listen closely to His whisper... it is just hard when there are so many other voices, louder voices but I know God is in the whisper. However, I know God presence is more real than the lies and that is truth I hold onto.

"I am enough" because God is more than enough and I have God to love me. I have God to give my doubts, pain, insecurities, question and shame over to and he will flood me with His hope, love, grace, mercy, wisdom and strength.

This has been a great free write, might do more of them.

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.