Category Archives: finances

the last 18 months… and a very faithful God

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I just want to take a second and look back to remember what God has done, specifically over the last 15 months of my life. All too often, I get discouraged by an apparent lack of growth or what I perceive as changing too slowly. But God in His faithfulness is training me and keeping me at this marathon pace, though my heart would rather be zooming along at a sprinters pace.

February ‘08 – on Sunday, February 24th, during worship rehearsal, Katie Britt came up to me with a little piece of paper. On the paper were these words… “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” Little did I know how those words would define the next season of my life. I woke up the next day with a splitting pain in my head. Imagine a migraine. Then make it exponentially worse. That day was the start of many long and painful months ahead… months of confusion, months of crying out to God, and months of things just seeming to only get worse. This month also was when I began writing poems.

March ’08 – On March 7th, I had my first MRI of my brain. I was terrified and in so much pain that I didn’t know how I would stay still throughout the procedure. And since the doctors were running ahead of schedule there was no time for sedation. God brought to mind the passage of 1st Peter 1 that I had just memorized. He reminded me that He was working… that He had a plan for me (an inheritance that is sure) and that even in my current trial, that His goal is that my faith and hope would rest in God… my loving Father. It was a sweet time, yet I was overwhelmed and confused as to what God was doing.

April ’08 – I had to stop teaching German. The migraines continued. I lost count of the doctors I visited and the tests that were run. There seemed to be no answers.  And though my body was exhausted, sleep wouldn’t come.  Matt preached a sermon that when God brings us into the waves, He is always behind us, holding us secure. He won’t let us drown. He is doing this because He cares for us and wants us to know the freedom found in trusting Him.

May ’08 – May was a month of answered prayers.     I got a new position at work, which was an answer to several years of praying.  I was diagnosed with and treated for a bacterial infection in my brain (similar to meningitis), which had been one cause of the migraines.  I think God was just reminding me here of His faithfulness… and that He hadn’t forgotten me.  However, May was also a month of new trials.  I became very sick with what I thought was the stomach flu.  New Attitude (singles conference) was a struggle.  I had gone expecting great things from God.  I left disappointed that there was no “thunder and lightning” simply a “I’m faithful… trust Me.”

June ’08 – I found out in June, shortly after my 27th birthday that I am allergic to dairy, wheat, oats, food dye and several other things.  Unfortunately I found this out the hard way, after weeks of not being able to keep food down.  On June 26th, my good friends Dave and Melissa lost their baby.  Melissa was 6 ½ months pregnant and went into labor.  I will never forget singing “blessed be your name” while standing in front of a casket not more than 1’x2’.  Their steadfast faith through that unthinkable trial encouraged me to keep looking to our loving Father, no matter what.

July ’08 – on Sunday July 13th, I was baptized.  July was a month of trying to figure out what I could eat and what makes me sick.  My grandparents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary.  Doctors visits continued.  Migraines started coming back as I was testing food options.  July was a month of learning that blessing and suffering go hand in hand.

August ’08 – August was the month of diagnoses.  The doctors found out that what I thought was a stomach flu back in May, was actually salmonella food poisoning from a puffed wheat cereal.  This was a mixed blessing because though it threw my body into overload, the doctors were able to also diagnose that I have Celiacs disease, something that has gone undiagnosed for about 10 years.  This month was another month of physical weakness.  I had no energy and constant migraines.  The Worship God conference was encouraging and this month began my study of the Psalms.  The Psalms CD quickly became one of my favorites.  At the worship conference, I was able to see God miraculously heal my friend Dave Johnson, after suffering for many years with kidney stones.  Still to this day, he has not had one!

September ’08 – Migraines began getting worse.  Due to the fact that you can’t take migraine medicine every day, the doctor put me on an anti-seizure med that is effective for treating migraines.  After a few increases in the doseage, the migraines began subsiding.  This was a month of ups and downs, along with very little sleep.  September was also the month I decided to move from living with a family in the church to getting an apartment with two friends.  Emotionally, there were many struggles, as I was working through where God was leading me to.

October ’08 – I started having some severe reactions to the medicine and the doctors had to quickly take me off, depsite the risk of seizures.  This was one of the scariest times I have ever faced, not sure what was happening, if I was dying or what to do.  Thankfully, my pastors were extremely helpful in reminding me of my hope in God, the God who knows all, is in control of all and who loves me.  The doctors changed my medicine and I only got worse.  I met with my pastors one afternoon and they prayed that God would heal me.  Sleep was unknown at this point now.  Oh, and on top of that there was the physical and emotional stress of moving, yet again…for the 7th time in 5 years.

November ’08 – November was a hard month with relationships.  And with dealing through issues from my past.  I found a new doctor who diagnosed me with sleep apnea, and a severe vitamin B deficiency.  We were able to take me off all the migraine meds, except to treat the occasional migraine.  I am grateful to have found this new doctor.  I am grateful because slowly, it seems that God began healing my weak and dying body.  I didn’t know He was just beginning to work on the heart and emotions.

December ’08 – if i had to summarize December it would be “face your fears.”  December was a difficult month as I continued working through some pains from my past, thanks to the help of Matt and Julie.  My body continued to improve.  I started having more energy, but still wasn’t sleeping.  In December, the doctor did a second sleep test. Oh, and during my Christmas break from work, I almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning and an allergic reaction to wheat.  Both in the same week.  It was a draining week.

January ’09 – As the new year began, I was continually reminded of the word “peace.”  I was reminded that God is the One who brings peace and that this was His goal for me in the coming months… to learn peace, not because there are no storms, but because I am held by the God who controls those storms.  “the flame shall not hurt you I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”  God seemed to be saying that the coming months would be a clear picture of God’s care and a refining of my dross.

February ’09 – in February I took a trip to Charlotte NC to visit a friend.  I was encouraged to realize that some of my sin struggles are the same things she struggles with.  I felt God say that this weekend would be pivotal in freeing me from certain sins and strongholds in my life.  I returned home, only to fail.  As I saw those waves of condemnation crashing down, I again became very discouraged with my lack of trust and faith in God.  And the emotional scars continued and in some ways only seemed to increase.

March ’09 – God continued to remind me that He brings beauty from pain.  And that my life, which has involved a good deal of pain, is meant to bring Him glory.  Each step I’ve taken and each tear I’ve cried was not lost to His care and love.  As my hours kept getting cut at work due to the economy, I found trusting in that love a struggle.  But I remembered where I was a year ago, in the tube for the MRI, and was refreshed to remember that my God is providing for me.  Since I still wasn’t sleeping, the doctor put me on a sleep med, for the next 3 months to try to train my body to sleep again.

April ’09 – Migraines are more an occasional occurance now instead of a daily trial.  Physically the changes in my body have been phenomenal since last October when my pastors prayed for God’s merciful healing hand to touch me.  I’m even training for a half marathon at the end of this summer!  Lord willing, I’ll have the physical strength to make that goal a reality.  The struggles to trust God to provide financially became greater as I saw to greater depths the mess I’ve created.  I was confronted about a relationship issue that I had left unresolved.  God used that to show me grace in a new and special way.  I was surprised to see such grace to me… a clearly undeserving sinner.  God overwhelmed me with that grace.

May ’09 – Again, God has overwhelmed me with His grace.  I’ve had many nights of restful sleep.  He has provided for me financially in some spectacular ways and has again and again proven Himself to be my faithful Provider.  I’m also amazed at what a gift my friends are and how God has used them to show me His care.  They have sacrificed so much just to simply show me God’s love.  I’m grateful… and overwhelmed.

So, that’s the last 18 months.  I don’t know what the next ones will contain.  But I know that the faithful God who has carried me through many physical, emotional and financial pains time after time, will continue to carry me through every storm He has ordained for me.  I continue to struggle with fear… fear of the unknown, fear of future pain.  But God is faithful in comforting me with the truth that no matter what trials come, He is with me.

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God’s grace in failure

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The past few weeks have been crushing for me. God has strategically been destroying me… who I am… what I value, etc. I’ve hated every moment of it. The trial started with a description of my sin revealed to me in a disgusting way and has left me shocked in a sense. I know I shouldn’t be shocked by my sin, but I was. I thought we had moved past it… I thought I had grown. I was shown a few weeks ago that the only thing that had grown was my self-dependence and pride.

Then came another shock… mercy. God used a friend of mine to show me what the Father’s mercy is like… in spite of my failure, in spite of my direct sin against that person, they showed me undeserved and lavish. And since that day, there has been not an ounce of resentment or guilt pressed upon me by this friend… rather they have accepted me 100% and have time and time again gone out of their way to remind me of their care and affection. Not because I deserve it, but rather, because it is true. Forgiveness because they love me, not because they have to forgive.

God has used that powerfully in my life. To see such mercy in repayment for my sin simply blows my mind. I don’t know what to do with such kindness other than in joy resolve to live in a way so as to not hurt them again. And so it is with God… as He has revealed and shocked me with my sin and complete inability to change, I am being met with mercy… mercy that overwhelms… mercy that knows me completely and loves me unfailingly. Mercy that picks me up out of my self-made messes and rescues me.

That truth was never so clear as it is right now…

On my vacation, I received a speeding ticket. When I was pulled over, I knew I was speeding yet was begging God to “let me off the hook” or show me “mercy.” He had something else in mind. The officer came back to my car with a ticket for reckless driving… apparently anything over 80 is considered reckless in the state of Virginia and I was clocked going 82 in a 70.

I was crushed. I am barely “making it” as a result of all my stupid financial decisions in the past (and sadly, present). God’s been working on my heart for a while now that I need His help to overcome this sin area in my life. But how can I ask God to help when I’m so aware that I’m in a mess of my own making? How can I cry out to Him for mercy when if I were only wiser or more cautious, I wouldn’t be in this boat?

And yet my God has been saying to me “I am a God of mercy… come. Come broken and ashamed and humbled and I will heal your wounds. Come not in your typical “I can fix this” arrogance, but rather come needy. Come desperate and watch Me work. Come trusting. Come expecting to receive mercy and grace in your time of need, for that is what I promise to you. Come in faith that My promises are true and that My love will never let you go! Come with empty hands and watch me fill them.”

So, I have come. Come and asked God to do the impossible… to fix what I have messed up. To heal what I have broken. To restore what I have crushed.

Last week my hours were cut at work… again. Is this God’s way of answering prayer? By making things worse?? Really?!?!?!?!? Yet in my frustration and questioning, I still heard simply “Come. Trust. Look. Believe. Know.” So, I have been praying and asking God to provide… not because I deserve it, not because I have earned it and not at all as a result of my works, but simply as my friend did… out of love and because of His faithful compassion.

Because I often have bad dreams, I leave music playing throughout the night… I find it helps me refocus my thoughts if I wake up scared (which I often do). I woke up several times last night… not from bad dreams, simply because… Every time I woke up there was a song playing on the radio that spoke specifically of God’s relentless faithfulness to the unfaithful or His love to the undeserving.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was “it’s Monday… a new day and a new week… that means that God is promising new mercies and new help today too.” Now believe me when I say that this is NEVER my first thought in the morning. Its typically “is it morning already?” “why does my body hurt so bad?” or “geez, I overslept again!”

From there, God just began to overwhelm me with His kindness. The first way was through a conversation on facebook which served as a reminder of what He has saved me from, granted me freedom from and the hope He has given me through it all.

Not 10 minutes later, God again reminded me of His care. This time it was through a dear friend, who stopped by my apartment at 7am with a card. In the card was a check… blank. The card stated that God had impressed on them to pay for my ticket… to pay off the debt that I earned and owe. To pay it willingly, aware that it was my own fault which caused this debt.

I am overwhelmed. Speechless. There are no words to adequately describe this. It is humbling. But I am rejoicing. I am low. Yet elated. Gratefully forgiven. Yet humbly aware of my weakness. I’m beginning to understand what Paul meant when He described himself as sorrowful yet always rejoicing. What a dichotomy this life is.

How great and humbling it is to know this God, who is not limited or hindered by my sin. Who loves me with all my weakness and who simply says “Come. I love you just the way you are.”

what are you doing, God?

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ever have those times where you ask “What are you doing, God?”  I know His ways are higher than mine.  I know that He loves me and give and takes for my good.  I know what He’s given me, He also has the right to take away when He should choose.  And I know looking back that every time God has taken something from me its always been for my good, even though immensely painful and gut-wrenching at times.  I know that though things can be taken, that nothing can separate me from His love.  How I need that love to hold me close today.  How I long for my war-torn heart to rest there. 

God seems to be shifting me from one furnace to another.  And I am as unhappy with this appointment as I was with the last.  How I long for it to end.  Trials are a funny thing like that… you beg and beg for them to end and as soon as they do you realize that you’ve learned so much more than ever possible had you not gone through that trial.  So as incomprehensible as it seems to your feelings, you find yourself thanking God for what you just walked through.  And simultaneously you pray that you’d never have to go through it again.  In many ways, that’s where I’m at.  I’m grateful for the trials that God has carried me through because I know to a greater degree the depths of His love, care and compassion towards me.  But as I face yet again another trial, I approach it with the same dread and horror as I faced the last.  Horror because as God is calling me to pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m seeing the death, pain, suffering and heartache that accompanies that cross.  And nothing in me wants to go there. 

Yet somehow my loving Shepherd has promised to be with me each step of the way.  He has promised to complete what He has begun.  He has already cared for me time after time and He is faithful.  Because of that, through His strength to hold me, with His help, I will rest in His control over this.  I am choosing to look past the pain, to look past the cross to my Strong Deliverer, who defeated the power of death and the cross.  He will preserve me by His mercy.  He is my Rock in the middle of the storms.  God has promised to complete what He’s begun, therefore I can have hope that He will keep me safe and true in Him…even here, even in this, even though nothing in me wants this.

Somehow I’m excited to see God provide.  As He keeps taking and in my mind its getting even more difficult for Him to provide, I look to my Jehovah-Rophe with hopeful anticipation to meet my needs and comfort my sorrows.  I haven’t really known what to say lately because it seems there are no words to describe the unutterable ache in my soul.  Nothing seems sufficient other than crying to my Maker… the One who knows me and will never leave me alone.  So, in my loneliness, I look to the One who will never leave, abandon or forsake.  In my pain, I look to the One who suffered in my place.    In my despair, I look to the only One who was ever forsaken by God with gratitude that He will not leave me here.  And in my moments (or days) when I just want to complain, I remember how good He has been to me.  The God who restored my broken soul and gave me life, the God who gives me a reason for joy in my mourning, the God who drew me through His kindness and irresistable love… that God will not quit.  So I look to Him.

where i’ve been

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i know this blog has been quiet lately.  for those of you who read regularly, i apologize.  there are several reasons for my silence.  the first is that i’m on vacation.  i left last saturday for a visit to MD, PA, VA and NC.  Currently I’m in PA visiting my grandparents.  Our manufacturing plant is closed until next Tuesday which means i’ve got some time off work.  So, i decided to take advantage of a less than preferable opportunity of “forced vacation” to visit my extended family.  So far its been a great trip… but more on that in a minute.

the other reason my blog has been silent is because i really haven’t known what to say.  this has been a different season for me… one of loneliness and yet again, new questions.  one of just not knowing what to say.  simply stated its just been a season of mourning in a way… mourning over things i can’t change… mourning over things i wish i had done differently…wondering why God doesn’t step in and longing for heaven.  but i know i can’t spend my time focusing on what “could have been.”  so its been a season of private journaling, of crying out to my God to deliver me from this darkness, and of learning what it means to look to Him, believing He is constant and faithful through every storm… of learning greater depths of His grace and mercy.  of crying out for more grace and more mercy.  and of waiting for it…

so, i am grateful for a week to just get away from it all and refocus.  on the drive up (12 hours in a car alone can be a wonderful thing), i began listening to an audiobook: John Newton: from Disgrace to Amazing Grace.  I still have about 5 hours left of the book but its been very encouraging so far.  i’m grateful for God’s grace… so undeserved to such a wicked sinner like John Newton… and me. 

another thing God has been reminding me of is His power.  though at times i’m tempted to question whether or not He is lovingly overseeing each aspect of my life, I know He is.  Not gonna lie, when I got pulled over and charged with “reckless driving” while going 82 in a 70, i wanted to get angry.  angry because i was staying with the flow of traffic… angry because God knows I don’t have extra funds to pay for a ticket now too.  and then almost immediately, the Holy Spirit began reminding me that He is the God that works in mysterious ways, and that He wants me to look to Him, even here, even in my failure, even in my weakness, even now when i just want to cry.  i’m not sure how this one will end up, but i’m trying to look to my God, my great High Priest who knows my weakness and has promised me mercy and help. 

last weekend, i visited my friend Leanne.  it was encouraging to finally meet her.  :)  and encouraging to see how God is working in her life… even in little ways like providing a second drummer for their church.  YAY!  :)  I went with her and her husband to church on sunday morning.  Worship particularly was very encouraging – just being reminded over and over again that my weakness is not greater than God’s grace and help.  i feel really weak.  and when i fail to feel His grace and help, He has promised still to be there.  so i cling to that.  worship was just a reminder for me of that truth.  then on Monday night, I met my friend Sara for coffee.  it was encouraging to hear of God’s faithfulness through her health issues in the past year.  it was faith-building to see God working in greater ways and deeper depths than i’m aware… to see Him doing great things beyond the walls of my little world.  she was encouraging me to keep my focus on God, remembering that its not all trials.  that God really does love and have what’s best in mind for me.  i’m clinging to the fact that its true. 

so, for the next week or so, my blog will be silent.  i’m leaving tomorrow for my other grandparents house, then DC, then Raleigh, and won’t be home until next Monday.  i’m praying that God uses this week of reflection to refocus my thoughts on Him and to encourage me with His unchanging love.  i’d appreciate your prayers as i’m learning that my God is bigger than all circumstances, no matter what they are.  :)

the cliffs of insanity

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do you ever feel like God asks too much of you? 

I was sitting at lunch on Sunday with a few friends and one guy mentioned this statement: “it just feels like God is asking for too much… holiness, sexual purity, hope despite circumstances, etc… its just too much.” 

My first thought was to remind him that if he compared his circumstances with all God has offered him through salvation, that he wouldn’t say such a thing.  But before I said a word, thankfully the Holy Spirit convicted me of often thinking and saying the exact same thing in my own life.  “God, ___ is too much.  Please stop.  Please take this away.  Enough already. Can’t we be done with this trial / lesson / etc?”

As I was thinking about this last night, my thoughts turned to the Princess Bride.  In this movie, is a section where Fezzik carries the princess and two others on his back as he climbs a rope up the cliffs of insanity.  They are dizzying and from a normal human’s perspective its “inconceivable” to think that someone could climb those cliffs.  Its an obstacle that can’t be overcome. 

I think of many situations in my life this way.  For this post, the obstacle of choice is finances.  I often find myself overwhelmed by the struggle, frustrated by my lack of self control in certain areas, and discouraged that I’m still fighting this battle and disheartened by additional unpaid days off work.  In my mind if I could just pull myself up by my bootstraps, then all would be fine.  I’d have millions in the bank, no struggles and happiness galore.  But thinking that is about as foolish as expecting the princess to climb the cliffs by herself.  Without the power of Fezzik, the giant, there is no way she would make it to the top of the cliff.  And the same is true in my life… without the power of the Holy Spirit to lead me and carry me, there is no hope for change in my life.  The cliffs really are insurmountable. 

Thankfully, the Bible has something to say about the cliffs in our lives and the power of God.

Mark 9:22-24 [the father of the child said] “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Romans 8:26 … the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Matthew 6:32 But if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

Nehemiah 9:19-20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.  Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. 

Psalm 9:10 for you, o LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I’m grateful that the power to make changes in my life is not up to me.  if it were, there would be no hope.   I can look back and see so many other insurmountable cliffs that now seem miniscule.  And because of God’s faithfulness, I know we’ll get over the current ones too.

Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides

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Exodus 20:3  You shall have no other gods before me.

Ecclesiastes 5:10  He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Isaiah 55:1  Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Matthew 6:24-34  No one can serve two masters.  for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.  Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious saying, “what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or what shall we wear?”  For the Gentiles seek after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Timothy 6:6-12  Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many selnseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, o man of God, flee those things.  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fith of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Hebrews 13:5  Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Nehemiah 9:17-21  They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.  But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.  Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said “this is your god who brought you out of Egypt: and had committed great blasphemies, you, in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness.  The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.  Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing.  Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

Psalm 9:9-10  The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, o LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 37  Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace… Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously…If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.  Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever…The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Proverbs 28:6, 13, 25-26  Better is a poor man who walks in integrity, than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.  Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.  A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched.  Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Isaiah 55:7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.

one year ago today…

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one year ago today i was scheduling an MRI because the doctors feared I had a brain tumor.  one year ago today was day 10 of the worst migraine pain, numbness and other physical problems that I ever thought my body could endure.  one year ago today, I was staying at a coworkers house dog and cat sitting and my allergies were going haywire. one year ago today i was working in a job that i hated.  one year ago today i was afraid that the previous 10 days would kill me. 

but now, 365 days later, i am rejoicing in God’s faithfulness.

sure, in the last year, i had more days with migraines than without.  and in the last year, I was diagnosed with countless severe food allergies.  this last year has been physically, emotionally, financially, mentally and spiritually very very difficult for me.  but God in His kindness, has graciously not allowed me to stay where I was one year ago today. 

i remember my fears about the MRI.  i remember thinking that i might have a brain tumor and that it might kill me.  i remember thinking that it would kill me.  i remember that roller coaster.  it was scary.  i cried a lot.  i questioned God a lot.  i was consumed by fear.

in many ways, i’m still on a roller coaster.  just a different one now.  its still scary.  i still cry a lot.  but looking back, I don’t think i question God as much.  i don’t think i’m quite as consumed by fear.  i think my love for God is deeper.  and i know my desire to live for Him is stronger (though I still fail and fall every day).   and in God’s mercy, I do not have migraines every day like I did one year ago. 

one year ago today, God knew I’d be here now.  I didn’t.  Had He told me, I would have asked for another path.  many days, i did ask for another path.  but by His strength, I survived the last year.  well, not merely survived, but i think He has brought me through and has made me stronger.  not stronger in myself or stronger in my abilities, but stronger in my trust in Him to be the sovereign Guide for all my steps. 

i have no clue where i’ll be one year from today.  i dont’ know whats in store for the next 365 days any more than i could have anticipated the prior ones.  but I do know that my God, my Father, my Shepherd, and my Comfortor will be my Guide every single step of the way.

click here to read my post from one year ago today