Rejoicing Always

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Philippians 4:4

Have you ever thought about this verse and how it doesn’t just say rejoice in the Lord? It says to rejoice in the Lord always.

The other night, I was in my room again and I was feeling sad. It was Easter and it was another Easter I had to celebrate alone, without him. I saw post after post of all those I know sharing about this being their first Easter together as a couple. It wasn’t long before I found myself thinking about him and crying out to God to comfort me. So I did that Bible thing where you pray for God to bring you the right passage in the Bible and then randomly open up the Bible.

I opened up to a random chapter in Ezekial. I was very skeptical but still decided to give it a read. And nope, it wasn’t very helpful. I tried again and opened up to Psalm 116. This Psalm was actually very encouraging and relatable so spend some time reading it and meditating on it a bit. But what I really needed came after I finished reading in my Bible. I picked up a small book I have full of prayers. My hope is to read one of the prayers in the book each night before going to bed. Well, the prayer that I read was the “Ode to Joy” poem which was made into a familiar hymn. What’s funny is that I instantly felt the urge to not read this prayer. A call to be joyful was the last thing I wanted to read about and I felt the tension in my spirit. But as I read it the conviction began to set in. This prayer was just the reminder I needed that there is always so much I can be joyful in. I want to bed with a prayer to be more joyful in the Lord.

And if that wasn’t enough of a reminder to me, the next morning I read Philippians 4 where Paul tells us to rejoice always. I just have to say here, as I know I’ve said many times before, God is just so good to me in all the ways He reminds me of His goodness.

Here is the truth that I realized; we can rejoice in the Lord always because our God is faithful to us and He is unchanging in all that He does. Our circumstances change, but God never does. If our rejoicing is based on our circumstances it’s impossible for us to always find joy and keep that joy, because our life is always changing. But when our rejoicing is in the Lord, we always have reason to be joyful. We can be joyful because of all that God has done for us and all that God has promised us in His Word.

So today, I’m choosing to be joyful. I’m choosing to rejoice despite my circumstances and this season that seems to have no end. I will rejoice always in my God and I will rejoice in all that God has done for me. I will rejoice in the fact that God has always been with me, is still with me, and has a good plan for all of this in my life.

Not Ready…

I was laying in bed last night, drifting off to sleep.

But as I felt my body drifting, I got inspiration and a new idea popped into my head. I don’t know why it is that inspiration always comes to me at the worst times. This is not the first time I have been inspired to write something while trying to fall asleep.

It’s a miracle that when I woke up in the morning I actually still remembered what I was thinking about as I fell asleep. So here I am now, writing about my thoughts that I had late at night.

I fell asleep thinking about how a year ago, when I was on the verge of getting married, I felt like I was so ready for that next step in my life. I had been waiting so long to be married and now it was my turn and I wanted it so bad. But in truth, I was anything but ready, and it was by God’s providence and grace that he didn’t let me take that step into marriage.

Whenever I look back now, I cringe when I think of how blind I was. I was not ready, I can see now and say so confidently now, I was not ready. I was selfishly wanting that next step so bad that it was unhealthy. I was so shattered when I didn’t get it because I had made myself believe that I deserved it.

As I was thinking about this, the thought came into my head about how so much has changed in this year. Now I feel ready, more ready than I was then. I thought, yes, I am ready now. But the minute that thought entered into my head, the dangers of that statement came to my mind at full force.

I realized that to say that I am ready is to say that I know what’s best for me. And to say that I know what’s best for me, is to say that I don’t trust God’s timing and plan for my life. To say that I am ready, is actually a selfish thing to say, because it takes away the fact that I need and depend on God each day. Saying I am ready puts me in the position of demanding things from God and being upset for not having things because when I say I am ready I am saying I deserve certain things now.

There is a quote that I remember from C.S Lewis’ book “Prince Caspian” where Aslan asks young Caspian if he is ready to become king;

“Welcome, Prince,’ said Aslan. ‘Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?’
I – I don’t think I do, Sir,’ said Caspian. ‘I am only a kid.’
Good,’ said Aslan. ‘If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.”

C.S. Lewis

It is because he is not ready, that he is ready. If Prince Caspian had said he was ready, he would be showing that he had a prideful heart and he would not be open to learning how to be a king. But his humble admitting that he was not ready, showed that he was ready, because he would be able to go into this new role willing to learn and lean into the wisdom of others.

So the reality is, to say we are ready, is not a wise thing to say. Yes, there will be times when we must prepare ourselves for something and we will be more ready than we were before for the task we are called to. But the minute we say we are ready and we have no more need to work or wait, we take a prideful selfish stance.

Saying we are not ready, is evidence of a heart that is seeking to lean on God and trust in God’s timing and in God’s way. Saying we aren’t ready, is the humble response God calls all of us to take so that our great God, can then come and be our strength and meet us in the places where we need His help.

So today, I am saying that now, after a year, I am not ready. I am not ready for the next step. I am not ready because I know how much I need God to strengthen me and lead me. And whenever God does bring the thing I desire most into my life, I will have to lean on Him for help and guidance. Because the minute I say I am ready, I am not ready.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

When Healing Doesn’t Come…

“I pray for your healing
That circumstances would change
I pray that the fear inside would flee
In Jesus name
I pray that a breakthrough would happen today
I pray miracles over your life. in Jesus name”

~ In Jesus Name (God of the Possible) by Katy Nichole

Have you heard this song before?

I keep hearing it everywhere and I want to be honest with you all… every time I listen to this song, I feel a little check in my spirit.  There is just something in it that doesn’t sit well with me and I’ve been trying to figure out what it is.

I think a huge part of it is the fact that this song is a direct prayer specifically for healing and good things from God.

Sometimes when we pray for healing, we can get so caught up in wanting the outcome and believing that healing is going to come that our whole world revolves around God bringing us that healing. But what if healing does not come. Because, I hate to break it to you, sometimes it doesn’t.

Yes, we do have a God who heals, we do have a God who does miracles.  But we also have a God who uses suffering and calls us to walk through hard trials simply for the purpose of His glory being shown in our weakness. And more often than not, the path of suffering is the path that God chooses for His children.

What if God is asking you to remain in your suffering for His good purposes.  When you pray desperately for healing and are not open to God’s answer being no, then, when God’s answer is no, it shatters you and brings you to a place of dissatisfaction with who God is.

Whoever you are reading this, as you listen to this song and send it to your friends and pray those words for healing over whatever situation you find yourself in, I simply want to call out to you to be careful.  Check your heart and come to God with a heart that is fully submitted to whatever outcome God deems best for your life.

Yes, pray for healing, but also pray that he will give you the strength to endure if the answer is no.  Don’t just pray for healing.  Pray also for God to be glorified even if healing doesn’t come.

Here is a thought for you; If God is going to be more glorified in our suffering, then may our prayer be that God will sustain us and help us to see Him in the midst of our pain.

As I end this post, I want to share one more thing. When I was reflecting on this song I decided to take the chorus and re-write it a way that I believe will reflect what a heart submitted to God’s plan would be.  To close this post, here is my simple rewrite of the chorus.  If you have found yourself enjoying singing this song, may you also remember these simple truths and hold them all dear to your heart:

I pray for your healing, but I also pray for you to endure.
I pray for you to understand that even when the circumstances don’t change, He is still faithful.
I pray that the fear inside you would leave you, but when it doesn’t, that it will bring you closer to the one who is love and who can cast out all fear.
I pray for breakthrough, but also for faithful obedience on the days it’s hard, that you might have His peace for however long He has you in this hard season.
I pray for miracles so that God’s glory might be shown, but if miracles aren’t God’s chosen plan for you, I pray you will still seek his name and let him be glorified in your suffering. In Jesus name

Surrender *Repost*

Reposting this today because…

It’s been one whole year since this day that changed my life. A day I’ll remember forever. The day I decided in my heart to follow God even when it took me away from the thing I wanted most.

Looking back on this post from a year ago I wish I could go back in time and tell this scared girl that it would be okay. That even though God wouldn’t bring back to her what she walked away from, God would give her so much more. I wish I could tell her that trusting God would lead to so much peace and joy and a newfound love and passion for the gospel. I would tell her that even though it would also lead to a long and hard season of loneliness, the new nearness to God will make each day worth it.

So below are my thoughts from a year ago when my hurting heart decided to take that path of surrender. All I can say when I look back and relive that day is; I’m thankful for my God who has graciously led me and has stayed with me each step of the way.

Surrender (post from January 25, 2021)

What does true surrender look like?

It looks like tears falling down your face. It looks like standing at a crossroads, knowing only one way is the right path to take. It looks like defeat. But it is not defeat. It is something beautiful. It is letting go of the things we hold onto so tightly and giving them to God. It is saying that what we want is not as important as what God has for us. It’s opening up the door for God to lead us to what’s next.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever be done learning my lesson of surrender. I’ve always partially surrendered things to God. I’ve said that I love God more but I only would walk away if I had too. I see now that it never really was surrender because I was still holding tightly onto what I wanted. I was saying I was surrendering while being ready to jump back as soon as God gave me the slightest sign.

But today I found myself at a crossroads. I had a choice to make. Two obvious choices were before me. Never in my life have I felt so torn between such a choice. One choice would keep me closer to the thing my heart desired most, holding onto my relationship. The other choice felt like a leap of faith because it took me away from that hope. Today an opportunity to stay do what I wanted most was placed right in my lap. All I had to do was say yes and I could keep holding on tightly to the thing I wanted most. But when I checked my heart something wasn’t right.

I have never before felt such strong resistance between making a decision than I felt today. I have been fighting to have my way but deep down I had this gut feeling about what was right. After much distress in my soul and a prodding question from a dear friend, I went on a walk to clear my head. I cried most of the way. I had a “hard” conversation with God. I begged him to speak to me and show me what to do. I even sat down and waited, hoping to hear a physical voice speak to me and tell me what to do. I didn’t hear anything. Probably because I already knew what God was asking me to do. The rebellious spirit in me just wouldn’t stop fighting.

I know that today was a defining moment in my life. I came back from that walk with a heart that was decided on what to do. I made a choice. I chose to choose the path of faith. The path of surrender. I gave the outcome of this relationship to God and I will leave it in his hands. Then I cried in my closet.

I wish I could tell you that once you surrender to God, the pain will all finally go away. I’m sorry, but it won’t. I’m still hurting immensely. I am choosing the path that is hard and everything that is within in me is screaming to go the other way. But I can tell you that surrender does bring peace. I know that if I chose the other way, I would never have peace. I would not be truly trusting God to work in this area of my life. There is much pain in my heart still, but it’s okay. It’s alright because I know God is with me.

I’m overwhelmed when I think about the possibilities that this choice may lead to and the hard days to come. But today I made the choice to surrender and that’s where I’ll start. I’ll take it one day at a time and follow God in this life because I know that in life that is what matters most. Living a life completely surrendered to God is what I am called to do.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

Today

Hey all! Long time no see right.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here. The Holidays came and well, I’ve been busy. I’ve been writing consistently on my other blog – More of Thee Co. So if you’re not following me there please go check it out! I try my best to have an encouraging post for you all on that site once a week.

But, I also have to be honest with you all. The Holidays this year have been hard. I’ve had such a sweet time with family, but I feel like behind the laughs and smiles is a deep shadow. Memories of last year and grieving still flood my mind. I keep telling everyone that I simply just want the Holidays to be over.

But God is good. This year God really made it clear to me the beauty of the true reason for celebrating this season – Jesus Christ. Never has the reality of the gift of Jesus Christ been so dear to my heart as it has been this Holiday season. I felt true peace and joy the day before Christmas when I was singing hymns about Christ’s advent at my church’s Christmas Ee service.

My heart still hurts, but I have God’s peace and that’s all I need. Today as I was praying, I realized something. For so long I’ve struggled with being okay with being single. As I was praying, I told God, I can’t be at peace when I think about being single forever. But I also told God that I can be single for Him today and rest in His joy today.

For some reason, thinking so far into the future is crippling. It’s scary to think that maybe God’s plan for me is never get married and never have children. I don’t like going there. But when I simply focus on the day ahead of me I realize that today God’s called me to this walk and I’m right where I need to be.

Whatever it is you are going through, this is true for you. Maybe you are single like me, still hurting over a broken heart and thinking you’ll be single forever. Maybe you have been trying and trying to have a child but for some reason, God hasn’t allowed it to happen yet. Or maybe, you know God is calling you somewhere and you’re ready to follow Him with all your heart, but He just hasn’t told you where yet. It’s okay to be there. But we must not let these unfulfilled longings become our focus. When they become our focus, they become our identity, and when they become our identity we begin to say to ourselves we will be this way forever and then we feel crushed.

Instead, ask yourself this; Can you be single one more day? Yes. Can you be childless one more day? yes. Can you be content waiting for the Lord’s timing and direction one more day? yes. Can you live for Jesus just one more day in whatever it is he asks you to do? Yes.

More and more I’m realizing this life is meant to be lived in the day to day. It’s about seeking Jesus each day and asking Him for the strength for today, not for tomorrow, and not for the future. God simply wants us to trust Him and be willing to follow His lead moment by moment, day by day.

As I head into this new year, this is my prayer. That I will be able to take it one day at a time. I hope and pray that I will find someone someday who I can share my life with and my love with the Lord with. I pray that one day my broken heart will be healed and won’t hurt so much anymore. But for today God has asked me to be single. And for today I can do that. Today Jesus is enough for me.

"So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:34

Holding onto What isn’t Mine

“Lord, help me to let go of what isn’t mine to hold.” ~ November 16, 2021

I found myself there again. Holding onto the things that aren’t mine. My hands were gripped tightly. The past kept coming up to haunt me. I felt so trapped in my mind and sleep was not easy. Somehow I have been going through life and getting really good at this suppressing game. I focus so hard on staying busy with everything but on the inside, I’m crumbling.

I’m ready again, to give all to God again, to let go of the tight grip I’ve had on things. It all came to a point the other day. I rode my bike to the spot. I wrote in my journal. I prayed to God. I didn’t know what to say, but I know He could read my mind. I surrendered again.

I’m tired, tired of holding onto my past like it’s a secret. There are so many in my life that I haven’t told about my painful past and how it still haunts me. Is it wrong to keep it all in? It’s almost been a full year, is it time to share? Will sharing be another step in the healing? But how do I share my hurts without putting myself in the spotlight and making it look like I’m asking for pity? So many questions. But I know that God sees and God hears.

These are just thoughts. I don’t have much of a purpose for this post other than to let out some of the thoughts that have been circling in my mind. I’ve been asking those in my life to pray for God to give me peace. I have been guilty of dwelling on the past too much and it’s been a struggle to take every thought captive. I know that I need His strength each day and I want to have His peace again.

So here I am, simply asking that God would help me as I surrender again to Him. I want to hold my life again with open hands.

Re-direction

I am learning something.

Sometimes it takes a huge setback or life change to get us back to God and onto His path again.

Last week I felt lost, so lost. A lot of stuff was suddenly ending in my life and I felt so confused. I cried out to God because I didn’t know what else to do. And do you know what’s amazing! It’s amazing what a week can do when you decide to trust God and seek him in everything. I still am unsure about a lot of things in my life, but I feel like God’s been showing me each day what steps to take. My feelings of confusion have been replaced by God’s peace.

This past week I’ve been noticing that God has slowly been guiding me down a new path, in a new direction. I still don’t know where this is all going, but I feel God’s peace again. There is a sense of contentment again in my soul and I don’t feel the sense of despair and confusion anymore. This is a such a beautiful blessing from God to have this peace and I’m just so thankful.

Anyway though, I just wanted to say that I find it interesting how I suddenly have this overwhelming sense of redirection in my life right after going through another season of confusion and hurting. It seems to me that it is during the times in life, when we are at our lowest, that God really speaks to us and shows us what to do. When my life is good and full it’s hard to know what God is telling me. But when I’m hurting or feeling lost, God always makes the next steps clear to me. Break-ups, cancelled plans, broken dreams… these are quite often the means that God uses to bring re-direction into our lives.

I hope and pray that whatever it is you are walking through, will also lead you to a new sense of trusting God and following Him down the new path He is laying out for you. Redirection is not a bad thing when it is from the Lord. It may take some hard times and unwanted circumstances to get us back on the right path. But our God is faithful and He use’s everything we go through for His good purposes in our lives.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

An Aching Heart

My heart hurts

My heart hurts, but it doesn’t hurt for me, it hurts for this world. Oh how it aches. I feel as if all of sudden there is so much pain and injustice in this world. One by one things are happening that are causing my heart to break. My heart hurts for all that is happening in Afghanistan, for a fire that is raging near my old hometown, for a dear friend recovering in the hospital, and for a young innocent life that was suddenly taken away too soon.

I don’t understand why God allows all these things that are going on. I know that there is nothing new under the sun and today’s evils are no different than yesterday’s evils. But so many of these things seem to happening all at once and so many the things that are happening are hitting so close to my heart.

I have been on my knees in prayer because honestly, there is nothing else I can do. All I want to do is pray for God’s justice to be done, for God’s peace to be given, and for God’s kingdom to come. Each hard thing is a reminder that this place is not our home. This world we live in is broken. Not only does my heart ache in pain over all the things happening in this world and all the evil, but it aches for that better place. That place where there will no longer be any of this pain. The place where a friend of mine is now residing. A place where day and night we will get to worship our King and be in His presence.

More and more I am finding myself longing for more of Him and for that day when we get to be with Him. If the evils of this world cause your heart to hurt, you are not the only one. It’s okay to let our hearts ache and hurt rightfully at all the evil in this world. But may it cause us to pray and long more for the day when we will be with our God forever.

Blind Trust

Something is happening.

I don’t know what it is.

I was overwhelmed with feeling.

I was crying out to God.

I distinctly told him that I felt so lost.

But I decided to keep on trusting in Him and hold onto the fact that He is good, even when I feel this way.

And then while I was feeling lost and crying out to God he started to do something. God brought a couple of new things into my life suddenly. It’s quite strange how suddenly it happened and I honestly don’t know what to do or where this is going.

But I’m learning to simply trust that God is at work in all things, even the things that I don’t understand. I’m learning that sometime God asks us to trust Him blindly. To put aside all our insecurities and have a heart that is open to new possibilities, new ideas, and new directions.

To trust God blindly doesn’t mean we throw wisdom out the door, it just means that we follow God even when we don’t completely understand what is at work.

Trusting God blindly is what he is asking me to do right now. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. But I know God will be with me and reveal to me what I am to do.

Oh how thankful I am that when I truly choose to trust in Him and follow Him, I don’t ever have to worry about Him leading me down the wrong path. God is faithful. I will trust Him 🙂

A Desire to be Held

I have a ache in my heart

I long to be loved, and cherished and held. For awhile now I’ve praying each day that God would bring a guy into my life, in His timing of course, who will show me true Godly love and who will cherish everything about me. I desire a man who truly loves God first above all other things and who will be open and honest instead of hiding things. A man who won’t hurt me, but will hold me.

And as I’ve been thinking about all these things I remembered that a few years ago I wrote a few things down on my phone about this desire I have to be held. So I thought I’d share the reflections and scripture verses I wrote down with you today:

“Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!”

Psalm 119:117

I read this psalm the other day and all I can think about are the words “hold me”. They just stood out to me. The psalmist is experiencing a season of hardship and here he is crying out to God saying “hold me, that I may be safe.”

I find that there are times in my life where I want to be held. I don’t have a man in my life to hold me and let me just be honest with you all, it can be hard some days. There is a strong ache in my heart for someone to hold me and tell me it’s gonna be okay. I want to be re-assured everything will be okay, that I’ll be safe, and that I don’t have to worry. To simply have strong arms wrap around me tightly and promise to never let me go. To often I find myself getting sad, because, as a single girl, I feel left out.

But, I saw something as I read this psalm. I realized that God will hold me when I am feeling sad. When I cry out to God in my need He comes and comforts me. He cradles me with his love and says he will never leave me.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

When God holds me, I know I’m safe. The safest place for me to be is in His arms. God’s arms are strong and He can protect me from all my troubles and all the evils of the world.

“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

So, I just wanna say, that it’s okay to desire to be held. It’s actually quite normal. We were created to have this desire in us. But we must be careful so that we don’t end up looking for it in the wrong places. My desire to be held should lead me to God – my loving heavenly father who will never stop lavishing me in His love.

Do you desire to be held? Even if you have someone to hold you on your hard days, you will never be able to find perfect rest in anyone other than God. When that desire comes, take it to God. Ask him to hold you and then rest in his great love for you.

Oh, what a beautiful thing, that our great God holds us! He will sustain us through whatever season we face. I’m gonna cry out to him just like the psalmist did in this passage. Will you do so too?

“Cast your burden on the Lord , and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

In God’s timing and in God’s way, I still pray that God will bring me a Godly man to love me. But as I wait I want to find my worth in God. God cherishes me like no man here on earth can. God loves me better than any human could. God will never hurt me like the relationships here on earth do. God is the one who holds me and I’m so thankful for this truth.