Rainy day

I’m taking a few moments out of my busy busy Monday to write something – something short and sweet, which will undoubtedly end up being very long and lack lots of important things. I’ll give it my best shot, though…

I wrote a few days ago about all the “confusion” that’s been going on in my life. In more than one area of my life I hear Him saying, “Trust Me. Please, just trust the promises that I have given you. Be patient. I am GOD.” And, as if you couldn’t infer from my last post, this has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I think that it’s been so hard because there is a part of me that likes knowing things… I like knowing that there is a purpose in things and a destination… I like clarity and honesty… I like being aware of what’s going on in the world around me in some strange hope of controlling situations. And I’m not so sure that this is a good tendency of mine. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When I try to control things and understand God, I’m not having faith in Him. I’m not trusting in His lovingkindness, believing in His sovereignty, or resting my heart in His promises. All of these worries and thoughts lead to anxiety and fear… and that cripples my relationship with Him and with others… SO much. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse always speaks loud and clear to me, especially now. Do not be anxious, Christina. Seek His face first and foremost in all things, find your joy and purpose in Him, and trust His holy promises. Not to mention, I can never fully understand God. Duh. And I really don’t want to. It’s hard to explain, but there is another huge part of me that is the exact opposite of all this – I live for the wonder and beauty of a wild, crazy and unexpected life with Him. The later “me” comes out when I am focused too much on myself and neglecting Him… when fear and worry take charge of my life, instead of trust and obedience to Him. Red flag.

Our God is a God of glory. Just listening to the thunder and watching the lightening outside my window last night is a testimony to that. I’ve begun reading “Desiring God” by John Piper and it has been enlightening to say the least. It’s been one of those “I really really want to read this but I have absolutely no time or mental energy to actually do so” kind of books for me… but I eventually succumbed to the fact that my whole life will be full of something; new craziness will surely follow the current craziness. So I started reading the book. I’ve been a huge fan of Piper for a few years now (I’ve mentioned his website DesiringGod a bunch of times on here before) and his ministry to seek His joy through Christian Hedonism is something worth its weight in gold. What I’ve truly enjoyed about the book thus far is the first chapter: Piper shows you through scripture that (without a doubt) God is sovereign. (It’s a great recharger if you ever need reminding of that fact.) I really needed that – like you need good reminders every now and then to refresh your walk. His glory and His sovereignty go hand-in-hand. Like Piper’s well-known quote states, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him”. “God is most glorified in me…” – He is given His utmost desire (glory) when I express joy in Him “…when I am most satisfied in Him” – He is the source of my joy; I seek that and I rest assured in His righteous sovereignty.

God is awesome. He has used “Desiring God” and the Sunday sermons this week to speak volumes into my life. I have been on this continual journey to rid my life of idols (what I mean by that is: rid my life of things that I place before Him). I know that He calls me to (and that I want to) seek His face for His ultimate glory. At all times. I want to run a race that is ever striving for His righteousness. I see His face right before me, lighting my path, leading my steps, and carrying me along. It’s like I’m flying a plane and He is all that I can see before me… all other things in life must take a back seat to Him or fly in their own plane. That’s just how it has to be right now. That’s how it’s meant to be for me at this point in my life. If I ever need a co-pilot, He will provide him in due time! Back to Sunday… My Sunday school class is discussing marriage for both the married and unmarried. I know, don’t laugh… I always feel funny saying that that is our topic for fear of ridicule (and the fact that I always wondered why people attended those classes if they weren’t in a serious relationship), but it’s our topic for the year and I can’t change that. Anyhow, it’s been an awesome study… we began in Genesis, worked through Song of Solomon, touched on Paul’s letters, and looked in Proverbs. Our whole goal is to find God’s definition of marriage. What does it look like? What is His purpose for it? How should we be conducting ourselves inside and outside of it? Great stuff, I tell ya – I wish everyone could be a part of our discussions! This week we talked about 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. In this part of his letter written to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rid themselves of sexual immorality. (Yes, I’m going there.) This isn’t the first time he has addressed this issue either. For those of us who are unmarried, sex isn’t something that we should be doing, occupying our thoughts with, or spend time dabbling in its boarders. It’s a gift of marriage, the promised garden of life, and an unremarkable bond between two individuals. It’s sacred and we’ve lost that in our culture today – Satan has made sure of that. (See, sooo much info that I want to share and don’t have time to say right now, but sooo beneficial for yall to hear!) And I think we all struggle with keeping our bodies and minds pure. I remember the first time I heard about “mental purity”. I think I laughed at the idea… how could you control your thoughts like that, much less stop those kinds of thoughts from happening? Truth be told, you can’t stop them. They will come, over and over again… but it is what you do with them that matters. Do you dwell in them or do you fight them or do you try to ignore them as if they weren’t there? Time and mistakes and the Word has taught me a lot about theses things… “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14). Keep you focus on Him… one step at a time… trying your hardest to cast off yourself and keep Him (and only Him) ever before you.

He also reminded me that my life is not (and should never) be defined by wealth. If you know me well, then you know that I’m not a big fan of money and I don’t need a lot to live. I love life and sharing it with others… having things and spending money on material possessions has never been a source of enjoyment for me. Just give me people and God and food/shelter/clothes and a life full of love and adventure and discovery and I will be one happy gal (Proverbs 30:7-9). 🙂 But I know that the world doesn’t exactly work that way. He has led me to OT (and I absolutely LOVE it, mostly because I spend all day helping people) and I know that He has something in store for me with it. What? I don’t know. But I have some ideas. 😉 I must repay the many student loans that I have acquired, but (beyond that) He keeps daring me to give my life up to Him, and I honestly want so badly to leap forward and step out onto another ledge with Him. No matter what may happen in my life, I know (and must continue to trust) that I cannot “mess up” or “fall from grace” or live a “fruitless” life if I remain connected to the Vine. That’s a promise of His – you can better your bottom dollar on those.

I love it when He drops verses into your life at just the right time… it makes me smile so much and reminds me that I hold His attention. His perfect timing astounds me every time… Below is Psalm 16. If you’ve made it this far in my post, it won’t be hard for you to see His hand at work in leading me to this section of verse on Sunday (and props to you for listening to me babble on and on!)…

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest recure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

As Garth Brooks said best, “Let the thunder roll, and the lightening strike” :),

Christina

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Confusion

Confusion. In more than one sense of the word.

I’m sick. And I usually don’t get sick. Needless to say, it isn’t my favorite thing in the world… I think that’s because whenever I have gotten sick in the past, it has usually led to something severe. My head feels like it’s going to explode. Really. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat, a stuffy nose, and every nasal passage in my skull throbbing. I spoke with the pharmacist and got some strong meds, but all of those things are still happening a day later. Yuck. I’m usually not a whiner (and I don’t mean to be now), but this congestion has made school and life a little less than easy… it would be so nice to have someone here to help me function while my mind goes MIA for a few days. Confusion.

I finished Proverbs. I actually finished it a while ago, but I haven’t posted too much since then. He taught me a lot through that month in the book of wisdom, and it’s been interesting to see how my life has changed in just this month alone. Sadly changed, in some ways. But I keep reminding myself that He knows best. He has a better plan. He will act according to His will. That gives me joy in spite of my questions concerning “why?” and “how?” and “why not?”. I must keep trusting Him, even though I do not see the forest for the trees. Confusion.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor… There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. Proverbs 21:21,30

I’m working my way through Ecclesiastes right now. I’m almost done and ever more confused than the day I began! My church, FBC, is completing a Sunday sermon series on the book – thank goodness. I need their insight. Out of all the books I’ve read in the Bible, I think this is the hardest one for me to wrap my mind around… to understand… to apply… It’s hard for me because it negates two things that I strive for most: purpose and meaning. I learned from a friend long ago that everything you do should be done with purpose and for a reason – meaningless and careless actions are just that, meaningless and careless. If something is meaningless and careless, why do it? If you’re familiar with the book at all, the Teacher in Ecclesiastes throws all that to the wind (from what I can gather). To him, most of the acts and toils of our lives are meaningless. There is a common destiny (known as death) that awaits us all and there is no use in acquiring riches, advancement, wisdom, or folly. No matter what we do, we will die and we cannot control who will take over our possessions and what will happen in the days following our departure. Too many times are wealth and fortune given to the undeserving, and the reverse. Life is unpredictable and who are we to understand His plans? The Teacher sums up each section with something similar to the following:

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Eccelesiastes 8:15

The more I read (and think on these things), the more I am coming to understand the Teacher’s point of view. Mr. Carey (one of the elders at FBC) continually reminds us that this “meaninglessness” is the result of a life apart from the callings of Christ. Knowing that helps a lot. But, still… Confusion.

Why am I easily forgotten by those I can’t seem to forget? Confusion.

How am I suppose to relate with so many non-believers? I want to (and know I should strive to) keep loving at all times, but what does that look like? What does that feel like in my heart? (1 John 4:7-21) Confusion.

What on EARTH am I going to do with my life as an OT? Am I brave enough to let go of my desires and follow His callings? Are my desires His callings? Am I even listening to Him? Confusion.

I think too much sometimes. Which leads to… Confusion.

Embracing this mandated sick day (and trying not to think too much),

Christina

The day of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Today is the day of Love… today we make a point to share and receive love from those near and far and dear. I wish every day was today. 🙂 I sent my Valentine’s last night and I had so much fun doing it – I included a picture of me and the other person digitally with the ecards. It was so wonderful because it reminded me of how much Love is in my life. Granted, I don’t have a boyfriend or anything like that, but my life is (by no means) lacking that precious blessing known as “love”. The other neat thing – all of the pictures were from events since my surgery. My trial could have been a much larger mountain to overcome, but He protected me (btw, this was me). This was wonderful for me because it reminded me of His great great great love for me. As strong as I may think I love people sometimes, He loves stronger. And perfectly. (lol, haven’t gotten that one down quite yet) 😉 Here are a few verses to remind yall who created and shares the most perfect love you could ever know… Him.

We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Share the Love,

Christina

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I don’t even know what to say to you guys today. This journey to find Solomon’s wisdom – even a hint of it – has brought about so much growth and fitting challenges. Perfecting holiness in a broken world is hard (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). But I know that He is faithful and ever loving… this is all happening for a reason and His sovereign hand isn’t being withheld from the troubles happening all around me. Prayers for guidance and courage to face my fears and for Him to “please keep working” in all the little things seems to be my motto right now. Trust Him. Trust. Trust. Trust. Seems like an easy thing to do, but it’s easier to doubt when your hands feel tied and you don’t know what to do. Questions and doubts will come, though… that’s life. Redemption will come, too… that’s Him. Despite it all, joy and peace and patience and thanksgiving are constantly welling up within me. Soooo thankful for those mercies and the assurance that He is here working. 🙂

“They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.” Jeremiah 32:38-41

Good will come and it will be blessedly sweet. And I probably won’t even perceive it. Neat. 🙂

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Ready for an interesting weekend and praying for Him to work some magic,

Christina