Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Coming through the valley with a better view from the mountain top
Through my life I have lived with the death of friends, the death of my dad, rape, divorce, the list goes on. If I were to concentrate on all these times in my life I could just curl up in a ball and take the fetal position until Jesus comes. Friends, that isn't what we are to do. I have learned it is a choice. Each day, even moment by moment, is a choice to live in worship or to die in despair.
There was a time in my life when I didn't know Jesus as my Savior. That was the darkest time in my life because as I was living in the death of my father and a rape that caused my world to spin out of control. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know to turn. I was raped when my dad was still alive, but he was home and very ill. I couldn't tell anyone. At least that was how I felt. How could I possibly lay this burden on my parents? After my dad died I really fell apart. Although I kept it hidden from others. I had to be strong for my mom. I felt I had to be strong for everyone. I made a promise to my dad to take care of my mom. Now that I look back, who was taking care of me? Sure, I had family in my life. But I needed more. I needed the love of a Savior to bring me through. To lift me through the despair and bring me to a place of peace.
My life has been touched my many other circumstances that could equal the pain of those earlier times, but there was something different now. I had Jesus in life. Although I didn't know what the next moment was going to bring, I was learning to trust in a Savior who did. He has used each moment in my life to make me who I am today. Not many know my whole story. Praise the Lord it isn't finished yet. God is the writer of my novel and I am learning to be excited to see what the next chapter is. I too am learning to slow down and not hurry through. Even those parts that I don't like, because within those very pages are lessons to be learned. Blessings to be seen that I would other wise miss.
We were created in love. God wove us with the beauty of His hands. He has a purpose and plan for each of us. He doesn't want us to set our eyes on our circumstances, but on Him. Might we see each day as an opportunity to grow in Him. When those challenges come we don't have to turn tail and run. We can stand in faith knowing we have a God who will work ALL out for the good of those who love Him. Cast your cares away and leave your burdens at the cross. Look to God for strength and encouragement. His Word is a lamp unto our feet. We might not understand all that is touching us. We might not be able to see past the fog, but one day I believe we will. I believe He brings us through each valley and sets us upon the mountain just so we can see the ultimate view.
As I went through a valley with my children, as my mother began facing illness, when my husband lost his job and facing chronic pain daily I can tell you the only way I have I made it is by the grace of God. There were times I didn't want to go on. There were times I shouted at God asking, "Why? Why, can't You fix this?" God is in the business of restoration. Restoration takes time. One cross beam at a time. One nail hammered in at a time all built on the foundation of love. Today I still don't know the answers as to why to all of my questions, but I know one day I will either know or find out it doesn't really matter when before me is the face of God.
I look at my life today and see blessing after blessing. I am choosing to see differently. I am choosing to see through faith and trust. I am choosing to make each day about Him and not me. When we make a conscious choice to live worship we will spend our day in praise of Him and all His goodness because we will choose to see all that is right.
I pray today that you are not defining yourself by your circumstances, but are finding all you are in Christ Jesus. If you don't have a relationship with Him, today is the the day of new beginnings. Turn to Him. Seek Him. Let Him fill you with a joy you never knew possible. He will wash you in His grace and touch you with a mercy that will renew you and leave you feeling complete in Him.
"Therefore, having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5
"But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:8-9
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11